Start­ing a stokvel

Ex­perts say it’s im­por­tant to lay a proper foun­da­tion for your stokvel, writes Mpho Diale

Move! Stokvel - - Contents -

BACK in the 19th cen­tury, stokvels were called stock fairs and used by English set­tlers in the East­ern Cape to hold ro­tat­ing auc­tions. The stock fairs were then adopted by lo­cals and called stokvels, where they would pool to­gether their re­sources to trade live­stock. Fast for­ward to to­day, stokvels now help mem­bers bury their loved ones and save money for rainy days.


Al­though they also serve a so­cial pur­pose, stokvels are or­gan­i­sa­tions and as such, there are fac­tors that need to be con­sid­ered when start­ing a stokvel.

Ked­i­bone Mooi, who is an ex­ec­u­tive coach who works with in­sti­tu­tions such as GIBS Busi­ness School, shares valu­able in­sights about what you need to put in place when start­ing a stokvel. She says, “Ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion has to have a cul­ture. When peo­ple come to­gether to be part of any or­gan­i­sa­tion, they need to have a foun­da­tion that brings them to­gether.

This foun­da­tion should be their com­mon pur­pose, so you need to de­fine why you are start­ing an or­gan­i­sa­tion and how peo­ple who are part of that or­gan­i­sa­tion need to be­have.”

She adds that you es­tab­lish an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s cul­ture by es­tab­lish­ing

val­ues, which are non-ne­go­tiable be­liefs about what holds an or­gan­i­sa­tion to­gether.

These can in­clude the mis­sion of your stokvel and how mem­bers should treat each other.

Val­ues also in­form the de­ci­sions that your stokvel makes. For in­stance, if your stokvel is an in­vest­ment club that only ex­pects fi­nan­cial re­wards in five years, money can­not get out of your ac­count for per­sonal emergencies like a mem­ber need­ing a loan on a rainy day.

When set­ting up your val­ues, make sure its a dis­cus­sion that in­volves all mem­bers, and that once you settle on your core val­ues, they are clearly com­mu­ni­cated to all mem­bers.


As Ked­i­bone ex­plains, “Val­ues are your an­chor.”

Val­ues hold an or­gan­i­sa­tion to­gether and help you make the right de­ci­sions for your stokvel with­out get­ting into con­flict about how you han­dle is­sues that will surely arise.

Val­ues de­fine the core of your ex­is­tence, so ev­ery­one in the stokvel knows why they are in it, what their role is and how to best serve the stokvel’s mis­sion and vi­sion.

“In your dis­cus­sions, ask your­self: why are we here? It’s easy to at­tract peo­ple, they key is in get­ting peo­ple who are able to de­liver,” Ked­i­bone says.

Ked­i­bone says, “it’s not what you want, but why you want it. There must be pas­sion and an un­der­stand­ing of why you ex­ist, the needs you are serv­ing and who you will serve them to.”


Val­ues should form part of your con­sti­tu­tion, which is a set of rules that will gov­ern your stokvel. This im­por­tant doc­u­ment should in­clude guide­lines such as: ■ How many mem­bers do you want to have in your stokvel? ■ How of­ten and in what man­ner should money be col­lected each month? ■ How will the money be saved or in­vested? ■ Un­der what cir­cum­stances should with­drawals be made? ■ Who are the sig­na­to­ries at the bank? ■ What hap­pens if a mem­ber fails to make con­tri­bu­tions or de­cides to leave the stokvel? ■ What hap­pens if a mem­ber dies? ■ Whats the process if a new mem­ber de­cides to join the club at a later date after in­cep­tion.

Banks usu­ally re­quire a stokvel ac­count to have three sig­na­to­ries.


■ Un­der­stand what you need to achieve. For in­stance, all mem­bers must be able to af­ford the monthly pay­ments. ■ Un­der­stand what your stokvel is about and how you can main­tain the growth of your group. ■ Keep records of ev­ery­thing in your stokvel, es­pe­cially fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions.


Ac­cord­ing to Mike Brown, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of an in­vest­ment com­pany called Ex­change Traded Funds SA, “Ev­ery group needs a struc­ture for it to op­er­ate ef­fi­ciently.”

He rec­om­mends hav­ing a com­mit­tee (ide­ally con­sist­ing of a sec­re­tary, chair­per­son and trea­surer) or ap­point­ing some­one within the group who has ex­pe­ri­ence in ad­min­is­tra­tion to han­dle the day-to­day run­ning of the stokvel.

“For a stokvel to serve its pur­pose to the best of its abil­ity, it needs to have a few peo­ple who are pre­pared to do the work; like go­ing to the bank, con­sult­ing with fi­nan­cial plan­ners if its an in­vest­ment club and other things that need to be done be­yond just gath­er­ing to so­cialise and col­lect money,” he says.

Form a stokvel with peo­ple who are in your life, like your neigh­bours, col­leagues, friends and fam­ily. There must be a sense of com­mu­nity and ev­ery mem­ber must be trust­wor­thy so your pur­pose is never com­pro­mised. Form­ing a stokvel with peo­ple you know also lim­its con­flict in the group.

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