A R250 million partnership between Ithala and fintech start-up Black Pay aims to help township and rural-based South Africans claim a stake in the country’s mainstream economy by financing township and rural development through home loans, backyard flats, and taxi and vehicle credit, while prioritising women and young people.
Ithala chief executive Dr Thulani Vilakazi said this week that Black Pay would provide all the support Ithala’s clients needed to help them obtain a loan and ensure the process ran smoothly.
“We recognise that a significant part of our work should be the improvement of the lives and livelihoods of our people. Our partnership with Black Pay is a valuable step towards that endeavour, and will serve as a model for future partnerships,” Vilakazi said.
As a state-owned entity that provides full banking services, Ithala said it was fully regulated by the South African Reserve Bank and other banking industry regulators, and it had a distribution network of 38 branches in KwaZulu-Natal.
Black Pay’s focus is on financial inclusion solutions in township and rural markets. The no-frills, non-banking fintech was founded by the Black Space Group, which is led by tech and property businessman Nkonzo Mbetha, together with musician and social entrepreneu, Zakhele Madida (popularly known as Zakes Bantwini). At the helm of Black Pay’s lending business is chief executive and partner Thandeka Ndlovu, a chartered accountant.
Bantwini said that in Ithala, they had found a partner that was as committed as they were to developing and uplifting the township and rural economy.
“We believe the time is now to inject much-needed investment in underdeveloped communities,” said Bantwini.
Recently, Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), the provincial trade and investment promotion public entity, was mandated by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism Affairs (KZN EDTEA) to promote the province as an investment destination and to promote trade by assisting KZN-based companies to identify local and international markets to export their products. KZN EDTEA has collaborated with TIKZN to source a service provider to develop the KZN Rural and Township Economies Revitalisation Strategy.

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