Ithala SOC Limited is making great strides in getting ready to apply for a permanent banking licence.
Part of the South African Reserve Bank’s conditions for applying for a banking licence is for Ithala to fill critical regulatory positions. It has done this with the recent appointment of the chief executive, chief audit executive and compliance officer.
The appointment of the chief audit executive and compliance officer also means that the combined assurance capability is in place. The chief risk officer position was filled a year ago.
“Regulatory compliance is critical for our operations; building a combined assurance capability will ensure that we remain compliant with all the relevant regulations and legislation and will give us comfort that the depositors’ monies are protected and safe at all times,” says Dr Thulani Vilakazi, the new chief executive.
He says Ithala believes redefining what wealth means, educating, and giving South Africans the necessary tools to manage their money, can help address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“By simplifying the conversation about wealth creation, we aim to offer our customers and potential customers a practical formula to accumulate wealth.”
At its core, Ithala hope to ensure South Africans are offered financial inclusion, money management and wealth creation. The Covid-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on communities and businesses, says Vilakazi.
But Ithala has continued to serve its communities during the difficult time. Ithala’s priority during the period has been the safety and well-being of staff members, customers and communities.
“For our staff, we have ensured that they have all the necessary personal protective equipment to ensure their safety while serving our customers. For those who can fulfil their functions working remotely, we have given them tools to work from home. The other key priority when it comes to our staff is to protect their jobs and ensure their livelihoods,” says Vilakazi.
Ithala has also offered payment relief programmes to customers who have been experiencing difficulty fulfilling their repayment obligations on loans as a result of Covid-19.
For many years, Ithala has run initiatives aimed at helping the communities it serves, among them: Ithala Education Platform In response to the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on Grade 12 pupils in KwaZulu-Natal, Ithala directed its CSI energies towards an online education initiative.
Ithala is eager to help matrics, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to recover time lost as a result of lockdown and help them prepare for their exams. Youth Digital Skills Development Programme In July last year, the Ithala Education Fund directed resources towards the development of digital skills through the 4IR Digital Skills Development programme.
The objective is to provide pupils with digital skills to allow them to be active participants in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, by exposing them to the world of coding, robotics, artificial intelligence and gaming. Ithala MoneyTalks as a member of the Banking Association of South Africa, Ithala is expected to impart financial literacy education to the community.
To this end, it launched education programme Ithala MoneyTalks. It was established out of the need to start frank conversations about money, which is a difficult topic to discuss, especially in historically disadvantaged households. Normalising the conversations opens opportunities to educate and guide people on the path to financial prosperity.
* Ithala has a distribution network of 38 branches in KZN which provide convenient transacting facilities. A comprehensive portfolio of personal banking and insurance solutions is offered. Visit Ithala