Stokvels will soon benefit from a ground-breaking mobile app designed to enhance security and foster transparency in this multi- million rand industry.Designed by Yethu, a company comprising of a diverse group of individuals, ranging from community leaders and stokvel members and mobile banking experts.“This innovative, ground-up solution aims to tackle problems experienced by the 11 million South Africans involved in stokvels,” said operations manager Nosiphelo Mnyani. She said stokvels were created out of necessity because the majority of South Africans were excluded from the traditional banking system. “Stokvels are completely based on trust and this creates loopholes for fraud and theft. We aim to give stokvel members the security, transparency and accountability that have not previously existed as well as giving the leader a management tool that allows them to be more accurate, gain more interest and increase their trust,” she said.The application will allow members of a stokvel to track funds that go in and out of their groups’ bank account and a way for members to check their bank balances in real time. During a workshop held in Khayelitsha’s Lookout Hill, stokvel members from various associations marvelled at the new innovation.The app can be downloaded for free in Google Playstore.“Over the years, the reported loss or theft of community funds have been on the rise, thus defeating the spirit of the stokvels,” said Sebastian Daniels.He said this was mainly due to the structure of the stokvels, where one person, usually the leader, is responsible for collecting and distributing the funds.“We aim at improving the financial education of the members so that they are well informed of the potential risks the current arrangements have and also presenting them with an alternative which they can use to continue keeping their funds in the stokvels, but more securely,” he said.Daniels added that through the Yethu mobile app, they believe that there will be reduction in the loss or theft of the funds of over 11 million South Africans saved in the stokvels..Meanwhile the National Stokvel Association said it welcomed any move to secure the funds of its members. The association says they also encourage members to consider long-term investments with the profits they make.. Yethu, in partnership with Allan Gray invites community members to a stokvel and financial management workshop to be held at Ikhwezi Community Hall on Saturday 11 February at 11am. For info call 081 246 4943 or WhatsApp 063 784 9268.