Phumzile Ntuli, right, member of Qalekhaya Co-operative and previous winner of Ithala’s Imbokodo Women in Business Awards.
Phumzile Ntuli, right, member of Qalekhaya Co-operative and previous winner of Ithala’s Imbokodo Women in Business Awards.
Wilson’s Wharf, owned by Ithala Development Finance Corporation
Wilson’s Wharf, owned by Ithala Development Finance Corporation

CAPE TOWN- The historically disadvantaged South Africans will be given top priority in keeping with government’s mandate to accelerate socio-economic transformation, says the Ithala Development Finance Corporation.

According to a statement, this is the promise of Ithala, KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial development agency and a strategic enabler of support to people from all walks of life.

It is further said that South Africa’s unemployment rate stayed at a 14-year high in the second quarter, with the statistics agency saying this week that the country was in a “precarious position” of not creating enough jobs to make a dent in poverty.

According to data from the statistics office, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 27.7% of the labour force in the second three months of this year, with the absolute number of unemployed down slightly to 6.177 million from 6.214 million.

Wilson’s Wharf, owned by Ithala Development Finance Corporation

“As a state-owned entity, we take the call by government, seriously, to empower the people of the province, more especially during these tough economic times,” said Themba Mathe, Acting Chief Executive of Ithala Development Finance Corporation.

“Our outreach programmes are driven by the need to create impact where it matters the most. Stimulating progress for our people is a core part of our DNA,” said Mathe.

“Hence, we are relentless in our efforts to promote transformation and financial inclusion to ensure rural and township economies contribute to the mainstream economy.”

Over the past three years, Ithala has disbursed R878 600 000 to nearly 700 businesses, resulting in over 8 000 jobs being created.

Of these, 28% are women-owned businesses and young people comprise nearly 40% of Ithala’s loan book.

“Entrepreneurial innovation and hard work will save the day. We are here to lend our support to the most innovative and diligent. New entrants to the economic space are counting on us to help reverse the negative trend,” Mathe said.

The sentiments echoed by Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, that local SMMEs needed to grow by 20% per annum in order create at least 800 000 jobs by 2030 in line with the National Development Plan is welcomed by Ithala.

Mathe said that a unified approach was required through the formation of strategic public-private partnerships that would serve in the best interests of emerging black enterprises whilst also capacitating them with a view to removing the barriers that preclude them from being successful.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE