17 November 2022: Ithala SOC Limited officially opened a new state-of-the-art technology full-service branch in Durban on Tuesday, 15 November 2022. The new Anton Lembede branch is one of 36 branches Ithala has in KwaZulu-Natal, and 5th of its kind. The event was attended by MEC Siboniso Duma, Inkosi Sbonelo Mkhize, the deputy chairperson of Ithala SOC Limited board & board members as well EXCO and Ithala clients and staff members, including the sister and granddaughters of the great Anton Lembede.


The Anton Lembede branch is one of the new-look branches aimed at combining physical transacting and digital integration to create a unique customer experience. The facilities offered in the brnach allows existing clients to adopt digital channels and helps Ithala to attract young clients who are digitally savvy to start banking with the institution.

The Anton Lembebe branch was officially opened by the Honorable MEC of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), Mr. Siboniso Duma. Amongst others in attendance from EDTEA and Provincial Government was Mr. Zamo Ndovela, Head of the Ministry. Ithala remains grateful for the continued support of Mr. Duma and all KZN premiers, past and present. Ithala hopes this event will reinforce the commitment to banking the unbanked rural and semi-urban clients and helping ordinary South Africans to create wealth.


Four other Ithala branches have a similar look; the UMlazi Megacity branch was the first Ithala SOC Limited branch to have this new look with digital facilities. Umlazi KwaMyandu, Richards Bay branch, and Eshowe branch are the other four. These bold steps are geared towards ensuring that KwaZulu-Natal citizens do not have to travel long distances to access banking services and have access to new online banking within the branch to avoid queues.


The Anton Lembede branch is necessitated by our commitment to rebuilding and repositioning the province’s economic position which was harmed by the triple unfortunate events of Covid, the civil unrest, and the floods in the past three years.

We hope that customers will enjoy the unique experience we have invested in this branch. Ithala has older-generation clients that are not comfortable using technology and prefer doing banking via the Banking Book and physical interaction with our staff. The introduction of the new branches will eneble Ithala to bridge the technology gaps and allow the older generation to be comfortable with digital banking.

The new branch features include an I-Station with digital devices where our I-Station consultants educate our clients on how to use digital banking in a secure branch setup. This value-add will help reduce having to go into a branch to carry out everyday banking that could be done from the comfort of their couch or anywhere that there is internet connectivity.


It also has Skype Rooms, where customers who have special inquiries could make an appointment and connect virtually with a specialist consultant in that particular field, lastly, we introduced an e-ticketing system which removes those dreaded queues where we stand waiting in line for the next available consultant. This technology will allow customers to sit and relax on the couches in the customer waiting lounge until their ticket number is called-up.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Sboniso Duma, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs, said, “I hope that the branch named after the towering giant, Anton Lembede, will bring so much change in the lives of Africans and the African continent.”

“Lembede was not known as a Zulu person but an African because of his contribution to the liberation struggle and the unity of Africans,” said Mr. Duma.

“We are very pleased that Ithala has done an incredible job where it assists black people who will walk into a financial institution and be afforded services that other banks usually decline because of lack of collateral. Ithala remains the embodiment of a progressive financial institution in our diaspora, in our country and our province,” he said.

These sentiments were also echoed by Ithala SOC Limited Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Thulani Vilakazi who has been playing an instrumental role within Ithala SOC Limited. According to Dr. Vilakazi, “the state-of-the-art facility will usher in a new era for Ithala SOC Limited and thanks to all those that made it happen from internal and external stakeholders.”

“We remain focused on the path to redefining wealth for every South African through our exciting offerings at the Anton Lembede Branch. We would like to urge everyone to open their accounts and start enjoying the benefits that come with it,” he said.

Ithala hopes and believes that clients will enjoy the state-of-the-art technology banking experience with its new addition. Existing and potential customers are urged to make their way to the newly launched branch.


Ithala SOC Limited is the only state-owned entity that provides full banking services; is fully regulated by the South African Reserve Bank and other banking industry regulators and is fully committed to ensuring compliance with all applicable regulations.


A current distribution network of 36 branches in KZN provides convenient transacting facilities. Ithala offers a comprehensive portfolio of corporate and personal banking solutions.

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Ithala SOC Limited, licensed financial services and registered credit provider, is a 100% owned subsidiary of Ithala Development Finance Corporation Limited, and is listed as a public entity in terms of Schedule 3 of the PFMA. In line with a recommendation from the South African Reserve Bank, Ithala SOC Limited was divided from Ithala Development Finance Corporation Limited in 2001 and has been operating under an exemption from the Banks Act 94 of 1990 (‘Banks Act’). The current exemption status is a temporary mechanism to enable Ithala to apply for and comply with the bank license requirements in terms of the Banks Act. Our purpose is to provide financial services to the people of KwaZulu-Natal, thereby contributing to the province’s socio-economic development. Our physical footprint spans the entire province of KwaZulu-Natal and, in some rural areas, we still remain the only financial institution with a physical presence.