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Stokvels advised to be aware of criminals during festive season

Nasasa CE Mizi Mtshali is urging stokvel members to be extra cautious when distributing savings for the festive season. Picture: Supplied

Nasasa CE Mizi Mtshali is urging stokvel members to be extra cautious when distributing savings for the festive season. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 8, 2021

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STOKVEL members are urged to be on high alert for criminals looking to swindle them out of their hard earned money as groups prepare to distribute savings during the festive season.

With the holiday season upon us, stokvels will be sharing the profits in an industry worth more than R45 billion. And due to its informal structure, many groups often fall prey to criminals who target break-up meetings where large sums of money or groceries are distributed.

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The National Stokvel Association of South Africa’s (Nasasa) Mizi Mtshali told Weekend Argus cash-based stokvel groups were most vulnerable.

“Most groups are robbed as they divide these funds in the home of one of their members, while in many instances, the group treasurer is intercepted after withdrawing the group’s savings. In order to avoid this, we encourage groups to transfer funds into individual members’ accounts,” he said.

“The group’s treasurer should have the individual account details of all members, and arrange for the pay-outs to be done electronically.”

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Even though grocery stokvels have a smaller target on their back, they are not totally safe. Most grocery stokvels take delivery of the group’s stock at the home of one of the members, where each member can collect their parcels.

Nosakhumzi Stena from Khayelitsha said she is proud to be part of the stokvel group.

“To be part of the stokvel is very nice, particularly during December. If you are part of a stokvel you will not run out of money to buy Christmas clothes for your children. You will have Christmas money because stokvels are distributing money in December,” she said

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She said their group’s money is kept at the bank and where it is safe. She said when the time comes for their money to be distributed, it was done into their accounts.

“I would suggest people to join because stokvel is very important. In our stokvel we contribute R30 per week, but you can contribute as much as you can so that your claim would be bigger,” she concluded.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) chief executive Nischal Mewalall, also highlighted the importance of using electronic means to pay out contributions as the safer options.

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Mewalall said groups must also avoid making cash deposits on high-risk days such as the first Monday after month-end.

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