COUNTRY-WIDE DISTRIBUTION OF STOKVELS
According to African Response, four provinces dominate stokvel distribution: Gauteng has 24% of them, Limpopo 20%, North West 1 1 % and KwaZulu-Natal 14%. The province with the lowest number of stokvels, just 6%, is the Western Cape. While there are provincial variances in terms of the proportions, stokvel members are both men (42.6%) and women (57.4%).
Results showed that members mainly fall into LSM 5 and 6 (32% and 27% respectively), but saving schemes also attract South Africans in LSM 4 through to 10, with higher LSM categories (8 to 10) accounting for a fifth of stokvels. petitor. As a result of the large pools of money f loating around in these informal “savings communities”, banks and other financial institutions are trying to find a way to tap into stokvels – or, at the very least, find out more about them. “There’s a lot more saving going on than [formal institutions] realise, and they need to learn to embed themselves in communities and learn about the “softer” side of stokvels in order to have a tangible impact,” says Ismail.
Nicholson agrees that banks are definitely looking closely at stokvels, and “if one doesn’t have it on the plan somewhere, then they are not looking ahead.” She says that Old Mutual has a burial society product in order to “test the water”. The big wigs will have to tread carefully, however, as they are setting foot on traditional ground. It would also be dangerous to discourage South Africans from using the one savings vehicle that appears to be working for them…