KZN will have state-owned bank by end of 2017 - MEC

2017-05-05 18:54
Sihle Zikalala (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Sihle Zikalala (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg - KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development MEC Sihle Zikalala has told Members of the Provincial Legislature that the province would have a state-owned bank by the end of the year.

Presenting his department's R2.7bn budget on Friday, Zikalala said the process to acquire a full banking licence for Ithala was at an advanced stage, with full assistance from the Reserve Bank and Treasury.

The move, he told MPLs, was in line with the ANC's drive for radical economic transformation.

"The process of acquiring a permanent banking licence by Ithala SOC Limited is in full swing. Together with the entity, we are working to meet all the South African Reserve Bank's permanent banking licence requirements. Our aim is to ensure that that Ithala has a licence by the end of this year," said Zikalala.

Ithala has primarily operated as a development bank, assisting mainly black communities in establishing businesses.

Sloganeering

The MEC's announcement appears to be in line with the calls from the ANC Youth League in the province for the government to bank with Ithala, rather than the main commercial banks.

Zikalala insisted that the government would forge ahead with radical transformation, saying this was not about sloganeering.

"To anyone out there who thinks that we will deviate from radical economic transformation, forget it. We are not going to be apologetic about our stance," he said.

Part of the government's plan to drive economic development includes:

- Establishing industrial economic hubs in all parts of KwaZulu-Natal, focusing on clothing and textiles, leather processing, renewable energy, agro processing and wood processing;

- Developing a regional airports strategy, with the aim of establishing a hub to manufacture airplane parts;

- Activation of black industrialists; and

- Rationalisation of public entities in order to curtail duplication of duties.

Economic Freedom Fighters MPL Vusi Khoza called on the government to drive transformation, saying there should be no apologies to white big business.

"We should not massage big business that come to townships and build malls, which in turn destroys local business. Locals should not be on the periphery of economic activity," said Khoza.

The MEC said the government was working on a plan where new malls would have mainly local ownership, saying this would ensure that economic transformation was realised.

Opposition parties - including the EFF, Inkatha Freedom Party, Minority Front and National Freedom Party - expressed their support for the budget, while the Democratic Alliance expressed reservations about Zikalala's presentation.

Read more on:    anc  |  eff  |  sihle zikalala  |  durban  |  economy

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