Banking authorities have warned that Mondays and month-ends are the worst time for stokvel deposits because robbers are familiar with stokvel trends and know when to target victims.
Generally, stokvels are seasonal. There are mid-year stokvels for winter needs and, most commonly, year-end stokvels that people join so they have extra money for the festive season and new school year.
Thieves target stokvel groups because security is quite lax.
Stokvel treasurers often carry cash from banks and keep it at their homes until the day the money is split among members.
These are four times thieves have made off with people’s stokvel savings this festive season.
A Jeffreys Bay woman allegedly lied to her stokvel group the entire year.
Each month, members paid their instalments and believed the woman was depositing the money into a bank savings account.
The group expected to divide more than R90,000 among its members at the beginning of December 2018, but the woman was nowhere to be found.
The club discovered that no deposits were ever made to the bank and opened a case of theft with the police.
The suspect was arrested on Wednesday, December 19 2018.
According to a Witbank News report, in October 2018, a woman was robbed at her home after receiving her share of stokvel savings.
The woman runs a small tuck shop from her home, which she shares with two daughters.
When armed robbers stormed her house, they demanded the stokvel money specifically.
Robbers steal R200,000
In the first week of December 2018, the Lowvelder reported on a women’s group that lost R200,000 after three knife-wielding thieves robbed them.
The women had gathered at the treasurer’s house to count the money before sharing it. The robbers arrived during the count and threatened the helpless women, one of whom was stabbed.
“We screamed for help and community members came to assist in chasing after the suspects. The suspects fled to a nearby mountain,” said a stokvel member.
The robbers dropped R15,000 in their hurried escape, but the rest of the cash has not been found.
Police are investigating.
Also in the first week of December 2018, an undisclosed amount of money was stolen from a stokvel club in Bekkersdal.
According to the Randfontein Herald, police are on the lookout for three suspects linked to the robbery.
“They allegedly entered the shack and demanded the money, whilst threatening them with firearms. They took the cash that was hidden under the bed before fleeing on foot,” said SAPS spokesperson Linkie Lefakane.
The community was urged to avoid carrying large amounts of cash or keeping money at home ahead of stokvel meetings.