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Ithala’s Pearl Bengu says community inclusion in businesses is key to preventing anarchy

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By Gcwalisile Khanyile 15m ago

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DURBAN – Ithala has implemented maximum security measures at its properties as a preventative measure and protect its infrastructure, staff and customers against violent unrest and looting.

Ithala Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) Group CEO Pearl Bengu revealed this during an exclusive interview with the Daily News.

“In the days following the (recent) unrest, we conducted a situation analysis of security at all our affected properties. We noted that the number of security guards were simply outnumbered by the large mobs involved in looting.”

She said it was apparent that there was a need for a collective security approach.

“Our in-house security division monitors the deployment of security personnel to ensure all properties are guarded and extra security guards are deployed where necessary.”

She said the SAPS and Community Policing Forums had also been engaged to enhance the safety and security of IDFC infrastructure.

“We have also worked out the inclusion of communities in the local businesses. People around the areas where businesses are located must be included and have some form of ownership in the companies, so that we can prevent what we saw during the anarchy,” Bengu said.

She said Ithala had contributed to the support of SMMEs and cooperatives which benefit from provincial government procurement, by awarding funding to the value of R52.1 million to such enterprises against a target of R50 million.

“Ithala has actively contributed to the organisation’s development mandate by directing 96% of funding to black-owned SMME’s against a target of 60%.”

“In essence, we actively promote a culture of entrepreneurship within the communities we interact. The unit packages a range of financial solutions designed to stimulate the spirit of entrepreneurship, while also responsible for extending to clients non-financial business support mechanisms to ensure business sustainability and empowerment.”

Over the years, she said IDFC had grown to a sizeable organisation that provides various funding solutions to SMME’s and cooperatives in the province, disbursing over R3 billion over the past five years and creating 8 000 jobs in the process.