Skip to content

South Africans are no strangers to Stokvels. In fact with an estimated more than 800 000 stokvels ranging from Grocery, gooi-gooi or even funeral there is no limit to stokvel power!

We are often told that South Africans are poor savers, this is a misconception or even an outright lie. The reason for this statement is that we have more than 800 000 stokvels… 1 in every 2 (One in every two) South Africans are involved in a stokvel. Where the misconception stems from is that most stokvels operate on a short term basis (yearly) and do n’t have long term saving strategies.

This separates the housing stokvel from an ordinary stokvel… the housing stokvel is geared for long term and typically will not encourage short term saving. Furthermore complex Regulatory oversight and in some cases even Protectionist practices hamper the growth of a housing stokvel.

Is there a need for a housing stokvel… of course… Do they succeed? Difficult to say as often there is little or no data to compare. So if there is a need, will the housing stokvel have a future? Time and market will determine if the housing stokvel grow and develop or if it will die a slow painful death.

The NHSC has been operating in this space, under difficult circumstances and has survived even though growth has been been like a see- saw with frantic highs and plummeting lows. Despite all this the company has been patient and has allowed the market to become familiar with the concept, albeit not as a “normal” stokvel in the true sense of the word. There had to be changes, in order to facilitate survival and adaptation had been key.

I believe that the market is ready and willing to embrace a dynamic housing stokvel, since to many had suffered at the hands of unsympathetic bank managers always willing to go the extra mile of humiliating people in pursuance of protecting capital and profit. Acceptance had been a major stumbling block in the beginning, but slowly the market had warmed up to an alternative player in the market.

Community initiatives based on Mutuality is not unique or unheard of… many countries have similar organizations that seems to address the needs of the community. Community buy in has always secured their success and though small in number they had thrived.

Urbanization, burgeoning populations plus many other factors are increasingly forcing people to call for alternative ways and/or methods to address the social concern. The author does not mind sharing his bias and noting that much more needs to be done to avoid a crisis. So what does the future look like for a housing stokvel?

It is the author’s opinion that the future is indeed bright and full of promise… yet more needs to be done in order for this segment to thrive. Community capital is probably one of the most underutilized forms of capital raising and yet we have peer to peer lending simply because the latter is perceived to be more financially rewarding.

Education is the key and teaching people to empower themselves is the “jet fuel” in broad based economic empowerment. The missing link in broad based economic empowerment is for communities to raise the money amongst themselves, for their own benefit. A housing stokvel or a community investment stokvel is a good place to start.

I am not being naive in suggesting that all will magically be well and there will be no sharks or wolves in sheep clothing ready-ing themselves to manipulate trusting communities… that will happen. The NHSC has and will continue to place their emphasis of “financial safety” with individual members or communities… we need to get into the habit of working (asking) questions and taking the time to verify them.

Trust is good, but control is better… we are not in control of the situation as we are still to quick to handover control or in some instances to slow to take it. Yet we need to continue with our economic activities in pursuance of a better life for all… yep you guessed it… IT STARTS WITH YOU.

In conclusion I think that this simple paragraph or two does not give an adequate reflection, however we must start the conversation and then reflect, learn and then evaluate. I want to start that conversation, I want people to reflect on our most trusted form of saving and the good it has accomplished, I want people to learn about using this method in other ways and harnessing it power and lastly I want people to evaluate whether, taking the chance on the stokvel is worth it.

error: Content is protected !!
en_ZAEnglish (South Africa)