'Sweet nothings' as De Beers again woos Botswana

De Beers chairman, Harry Oppenheimer, De Beers resident director, Louis Nchindo and President Sir Seretse Khama at official opening of Orapa Mine in 1971 PIC: NATIONAL ARCHIVES
De Beers chairman, Harry Oppenheimer, De Beers resident director, Louis Nchindo and President Sir Seretse Khama at official opening of Orapa Mine in 1971 PIC: NATIONAL ARCHIVES

The top secret negotiations between Botswana and De Beers for a new diamond sales deal have kicked off in earnest, with both sides establishing five-member teams and working on their heads of agreement. This week, heads of both teams tenderly committed to taking the plus-50 year relationship to the next level, but the official veil of secrecy means few can see behind the honeyed words. Staff Writer, MBONGENI MGUNI, reports

An unofficial decision has been made by both teams to use the metaphor of romance to describe the process of negotiating and securing a new diamond sales agreement.

In May, President Mokgweetsi Masisi spoke of a “marriage” between De Beers and Botswana. On Tuesday, he spoke of the process as a “renewal of vows”. De Beers group CEO, Bruce Cleaver said the diamond giant “couldn’t wish for a better partner” and said the relationship would be “around for another 50 years”.

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