23 August 2010
South Africa’s state-owned Land Bank has cleaned up its finances and is now attracting investors, says CEO Phakamani Hadebe, adding that the bank is beginning to see a new culture “that is committed to delivery”.
“We’ve cleaned up our house and there is control, coordination and accountability. We’ve turned the corner and can proudly say that we are now financially stable,” Hadebe told journalists in Pretoria last week.
The government transferred the bank to the National Treasury in July 2008 when it became apparent the bank was in financial turmoil. Hadebe was appointed acting CEO to develop a turnaround strategy to be implemented in phases.
The strategy first focused on the audits and finding ways to improve existing systems and processes. A year later, it shifted its focus to stabilisation and arresting the deterioration of the balance sheet and enhancing human capacity as well as effective systems.
The sustainability phase, which assumes that the bank operations have normalised and has a strong business plan, was finally implemented in March this year.
During the process, five arrests were made relating to the Micro-Agricultural Finance Initiative of South Africa (Mafisa) which services emerging farming and agricultural businesses.
More arrests are imminent as investigations regarding wrong-doing in Agri-BEE are at an advanced stage.
“Even though we are still dealing with the legacy of poor financial management, we are also beginning to see a new culture of staff personnel that is committed to delivery, as well as commitment from both the commercial and emerging farmers who are coming back to us,” Hadebe said.
“To us this is important, because we want the market to have confidence on us.”