File image: IOL

CAPE TOWN - The South African Banking Risks Information Centre (SABRIC) says stokvels should find safer ways of distributing money to its members this festive season.

SABRIC says, among others, 53 stokvel robbery incidents were reported between 2014 and 15 December 2017, with 77% of them occurring during the festive season.

It has become a norm for stokvels to distribute their savings during this time as the members are reserving money for holidays and the festive season spending.  

The CEO of SABRIC, Kalyani Pillay said, "It is very distressing that bank clients, who are the victims of stokvel robberies are often injured or even killed during these incidents, which is why we urge them to find safer ways to transact, such as internet transfers or mobile banking, instead of carrying large amounts of cash".

Pillay urged bank clients to be more vigilant about paying attention to their surroundings at this time, and has the following tips to ensure that clients can protect themselves and their cash:

For stokvel groupings

- Refrain from making cash deposits of club members’ contributions on high-risk days like Monday after month end.

- Ensure that persons depositing club cash contributions or making withdrawals are accompanied by another club member.

- A stokvel savings club or burial society can arrange for members to deposit cash directly into the club’s account instead of collecting cash contributions.

- Arrange for the club’s pay out to be electronically transferred into each club member’s personal account or accounts of their choice.

- Take another person with when going to deposit club cash contributions.

For Individuals

- Carry as little cash as possible.

- Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically - consult your bank to find out about other available options.

- Consider making use of cell phone banking, internet transfers or ATMs to do your banking.

- Never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you.

ALSO READ: 421 000 stokvels in SA are valued at R25bn

For businesses

- Vary the days and times on which you deposit cash.

- Do not openly display the money you are depositing while you are standing in the bank queue.

- Avoid carrying moneybags, briefcases or openly displaying your deposit receipt book.

- It is advisable to identify another branch nearby you that you can visit to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily recognisable or detected.

- If the amount of cash you are regularly depositing is increasing as your business grows, consider using the services of a cash management company.

- Refrain from giving wages to your contract or casual labourers in full view of the public; rather make use of wage accounts that can be provided by your bank.

- Consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to contract or casual labourers’ personal bank accounts.