Ithala prey to ‘everyone is a businessman’ belief

2009-07-28 00:00

THE misguided belief that every citizen can become a successful businessperson is one of the key challenges facing KZN’s development finance institution Ithala, which has two years to turn around its flagging fortunes.

According to the Ithala Group chief executive, Sipho Shabalala, the bank’s energy and resources are often diverted away from other potentially profitable ideas as a result of the bank having to entertain people who do not have viable business concepts.

Shabalala also asked that Ithala be given “the space to operate without being second-guessed”.

He was speaking at a recent post-budget speech event in Durban, focusing on the 2009/10 budget of the Economic Development and Tourism Department.

Shabalala said they entertain a whole range of people who believe that “everyone is a businessman”.

He expressed hope that the various chambers of business will assist in creating awareness around the need for true entrepreneurship and viable business concepts.

Ithala has been plagued by negative publicity in recent years.

Furthermore, the bank has recorded diminishing profits and an unimpressive balance sheet — something that has not escaped the attention of top political office bearers in the province.

In his recent budget speech, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu noted that the bank’s poor performance threatened its ability to generate its own revenue without having to rely on the government.

In his speech, Shabalala, the former head of the provincial Treasury, suggested that the bank is beginning to “turn the corner”.


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