Lev Leviev Diamonds (LLD) which was inaugurated in 2004 with a staff compliment of 500 employees has grown the local diamond cutting and polishing industry tremendously within the past few years although supply challenges have been shortchanging its operations.
The company was launched as the first diamond cutting and polishing firm in the country.
The managing director of the company, Kombadaetu Kapwanga, who also doubles up as the Vice President of the Chamber of Mines has lauded the progress made by the company over the past few years.
“Since we have been in operation many companies have also joined the diamond cutting and polishing industry but none of those companies have managed to do away with our internally trained skills. I can tell you today that some of the diamond cutting and polishing companies have 100% staff complement from our previous employees. That is something commendable,” he said.
The company which now has a staff complement of 150 workers because of supply changes in the diamond sector, Kapwanga admits has found a way of dealing with cartels of multinationals that monopolise the industry and push the notion that African countries cannot manage to process their own produce.
According to Kapwanga, LLD has coined a niche of high quality production and also fostered the opening of other diamond polishing firms through supplying skilled employees.
“We started the company with a capacity to cut and polish 25 000 carats of diamonds and at that time we were the biggest diamond polishing and cutting firm. We have also helped a lot of Namibians polish their skills. Our company has also trained 79 Angolans at the recommendation of the founding father so today we stand proud to have been the pioneer diamond polishing firm and we have also shown the world that Namibia has the capacity to process its products,” he said.
Kapwanga added that since its inception the factory has trained more than 600 Namibians who now form the backbone of the Namibian manufacturing industry.
“You can go to any other factory in Namibia and you will find our trained employees working there. Some of the new factories are almost employing 100% of our trained Namibians. We have trained Angolans to establish their own successful industry in Angola. We also trained a group of Zimbabwean youth to establish their first factory in that country.LLD Diamonds Namibia is totally independent from De Beers, unlike most of the local sight holders who also sight holders of De Beers’s Diamond Trading Company (DTC) in London,” he added.
LLD which is one of the largest diamond cutting and polishing firms worldwide under the Sakawe group of companies and also ventures in phosphate mining this week hosted the Congolese Minister of Public Service and State Reform, Guy Parfait Kolelas, to exchange knowledge on how that country can also benefit from investing in local companies.
Kolelas acknowledged that Namibia has done exceptionally well in building a complete diamond industry which has helped break the heavy reliance on multinationals.
The company is 96% owned by Sakawe Mining Corporation (Samicor), which is also a fully Namibian registered company.
Through its various 100% owned subsidiaries, Samicor is involved in different spheres of the Namibian economy like in diamond mining through Samicor Diamond Mining, in low cost house development through Green Building Construction, in phosphate mining through LL Namibia Phosphate and in agricultural food production through LL Biofuel. Samicor have the Leviev Group of Companies (LGC) as the investor and through it the main sponsor of LLD Diamonds Namibia.
The government of Namibia through Samicor owns 8% of the company, while 2% is owned by the National Youth Service and another 10% by Longlife mining, which is the main BEE component, representing mostly formally disadvantaged people, war veterans, women organizations and other institutions like Onemanya Maternity Clinic in Omusati Region.