There is no need to invent the wheel, says Ithala SOC Limited CEO Dr Thulani Vilakazi.
He said Ithala had been operating as a state bank for decades and all that was required was the official recognition.
He was commenting in the wake of a statement by Treasury that after more than a decade on the drawing board, the government has still not finalised the form its proposed state-owned bank will take.
In February, President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking to journalists as part of a SA National Editors Forum meeting, expressed his support for a state bank.
Dr Vilakazi said there was no need to look beyond Ithala to appoint a state bank that is “tried and tested” to serve the people.
He welcomed the tough stance taken by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal to push for the fast-tracking of the establishment of a state bank.
At its recent two-day lekgotla earlier this year, the ruling party in KwaZulu-Natal said the delays in setting up a state bank prejudiced the national democratic revolution.
Dr Vilakazi said, “As the only state-owned entity that provides full banking services, the concept of a state bank is a natural progressive step for Ithala.”
He said with its good governance and sound infrastructure, Ithala is ripe and ready to become a state bank.
“For far too long, ordinary South Africans have been left out of the transformation agenda, with historically disadvantaged people, especially in rural areas, bearing the brunt of exclusion from financial services.
“The establishment of a state-owned bank with a developmental mandate will help end the economic apartheid that defines South Africa. It will transform the financial sector and will empower historically-disadvantaged communities and accelerate radical economic transformation.
“Ithala SOC Limited – a 100% owned subsidiary of Ithala Development Finance Corporation, KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial development agency – has received overwhelming government support to achieve state bank status.
“The Premier of KZN Sihle Zikalala has long championed for Ithala to become a state bank in keeping with the ruling party’s drive for radical economic transformation,” he said.
As the pioneer in banking the unbanked sector and helping them manage their money, he said Ithala has “all the right ingredients” to become a state bank, thus enabling growth of the bank’s national footprint beyond the borders of the province
“As the only state-owned entity that provides full banking services, the concept of a state bank is a natural progressive step for Ithala.
“Banking systems must be conducive to serving the interests of everyday South Africans – a role that Ithala has long been fulfilling as a development finance institution.
“Hence, with a six-decade legacy of development, Ithala believes it is well positioned to ensure better use of public funds towards key priority areas including job creation and economic development in financially distressed rural communities.
“As an organisation which puts people before profit, Ithala would operate differently to commercial banks which invest millions of the province’s taxpayer funds outside the province as opposed to investing in sustainable development locally first.
“Against the backdrop of the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, a state bank could earn additional revenue for the state which could help spur economic development and release vulnerable members of society from the debt trap that so many people find themselves in,” Dr Vilakazi said.
For more information visit www.myithala.co.za, call 031 366 2500. Follow us on Facebook @MyIthala, Twitter @MyIthala, Instagram @MyIthala, LinkedIn Ithala SOC Limited, #RedefiningWealth #IthalaMoneyTalks #MoveToIthala #StateBank
Issued by: Ithala SOC Limited Head Office
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