Bank to get new chief executive

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal state-owned bank Ithala is likely to have a new chief executive after the position was advertised last weekend.

Five months ago provincial treasury head Sipho Shabalala was deployed to the bank by former MEC for finance and economic development and now Premier Zweli Mkhize.

At the time Mkhize announced that Shabalala had been seconded to the bank for five months and tasked with enforcing a turn-around strategy to sustain the bank.

The introduction of Shabalala came with a lot of changes since the former bank chief executive, Ike Nxedlana, was moved to head the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone and manage the Sohar Port Special Zone.

But advertising of the chief executive's position has triggered speculation that Shabalala is likely to be redeployed to Mkhize's office in the province.

Shabalala yesterday denied any knowledge of being tipped for a high position in the office.

"I know nothing about a position in the premier's office. As far as I know, I still have my post at the treasury and I was seconded to Ithala for five months," he said.

"The post of the chief executive has been advertised and I also saw it, the closing date is Friday."

He said the post was open to everyone, including himself, though he had not yet applied.

"At the moment I'm still employed by the treasury," he emphasised.

Before Shabalala's secondment to Ithala, politicians accused the bank management of awarding loans amounting to R58million to officials aligned to the ruling party and their relatives.

The IFP and DA claimed that the bank loans given to ANC leaders and their relatives were never repaid and viewed Shabalala's appointment as a "cover-up".

The parties claimed that Mkhize's wife, the wife of outgoing provincial director-general Kwazi Mbanjwa, Shabalala and his wife were among those who benefited from the Ithala loans.