Pietermaritzburg - Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini called on Wednesday for
the establishment of a development bank to serve rural communities,
which he said were often neglected by the major banks.
"Rural communities are not catered for in the current
environment by the banking sector, and such a bank will help in
attending to this," the king told delegates at the launch of the
Ingonyama Rural Development Forum in Pietermaritzburg.
The forum is regarded as a key structure which will
help in rolling out development in rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. About
40% of the land in the province falls under Ingonyama Trust, with
the king as the custodian.
Although KwaZulu-Natal had Ithala, which is a
development bank owned by the provincial government, he said many people
struggled to get help from it.
The envisaged development bank would take a cooperative form and illustrate how communities were able to sustain themselves.
"Some will recall that rural communities used to build
schools and other centres by pooling their resources together, because
their areas were neglected under apartheid," he said in outlining the
vision of the bank and how it could operate.
Zwelithini cited other countries such as Botswana,
where important centres were established by rural communities which set
up savings schemes and banks.
“It is because of past results in other countries that I
am convinced that such a bank will help in meeting (the) needs of poor
rural communities,” he said.
He challenged amakhosi (traditional leaders) to play a
leading role in development, saying through the forum they would dispel
the misconception that they were against development.
The king emphasised the need for closer cooperation
between traditional leaders and elected public representatives in
government in driving development in the province.