David Makhura on Burial Societies and Stokvels

David Makhura advocates Stokvels as brilliant self-help initiatives because they have come about as a means to assist poverty-stricken people to save and to also generally improve the lives of Stokvel community members. They provide opportunities for members to not only save but to actually accumulate assets and they also play a role in promoting the empowerment of women.

David Makhura – Involved in the well-being of the Community

Burial Societies and Stokvels in South Africa are not just for the elderly but for the young too said David Makhura, Gauteng Premier who recently attended the Stokvel and Burial Society Indaba.

Stakeholders came together in Soweto, Johannesburg to discuss the way forward .
Makhura also said that the tradition of collective saving schemes through stokvels is well established and well utilised in South Africa among the black communities in general.  Stokvels aren’t all the same he said, and they take different forms such as investment- and savings clubs.

David MakhuraPooling savings and Resources

People pool their savings and resources as groups to address various community needs such as buying a car or house, going away on holiday, investing in property and education among others. Savings are rotated among members of the stokvel every month.

When it comes to funerals, a saving scheme can help with providing loved ones with a decent funeral. The family can also rely on the helping hands of other members who make themselves available during a difficult period to perform various everyday tasks.

Questions asked – are Stokvel savings being put to good use?

David Makhura went on to say that a Finscope Consumer Survey reveals that women are in the majority in the stokvel sector. He said that he has heard many questions asked about why people spend so much money on funerals when there is so much poverty?

 

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Are those saving money through these schemes getting maximum returns on their savings then? Why isn’t the invested money being put to use to improve the quality of life in the townships rather? Also, how can these schemes be protected from unscrupulous people?

Other Difficulties

There are so many difficulties facing burial societies and stokvels. External challenges include relationships with the private banks- and insurers, funeral parlours, administrators and government. The relationships of burial societies with some of these service-providers simply creates additional problems for the members of burial societies. They actually constitute a threat to the sustainability of these societies.

Answering the question about poverty in the townships, Makhura said that most of the money generated in the townships is spent outside the townships, instead of circulating the money in the local communities. Burial societies and stokvels need to expand their scope and be tackling things such as unemployment and poverty.

David Makhura points the way forward

Meantime a Provincial Working Group will be established to look at the different opportunities opened by a township economy revitalisation programme. Meetings will be convened to identify concerns and challenges faced by burial societies and stokvels.
David Makhaura said said he wanted to see everyone at the Stokvel Indaba and Conference in March 2016.

Conclusion

These Indabas bring together heads of financial institutions, ordinary Stokvel members and government representatives with projects that will boost township businesses and change the quality of life for the majority of South Africans, and particularly those who live in the townships and villages. Makhura ended his talk by saying he hoped to see serious engagements with the representative of stokvels and burial societies after the Indaba.

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