Pfukani stokvel members share how strict rules revived the stokvel after money was mishandled in the past

Women chatting  happily.
Women chatting happily.
Klaus Vedfelt/ Getty images

A GOOD FOUNDATION

In any formation, having clear rules are important. They will be the foundation of whatever is to come. Pfukani Burial Society is going through challenges that stem from a shaky start and not having clear-cut rules and regulations to successfully run a well-oiled and functioning burial society.

 In the foundation phase, a constitution needs to be drafted and members are obliged to follow it but that hasn’t been the case for Pfukani. Sannah Rambau, a Pfukani member, says they need help in solidifying their society.

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 “We need help with constitution, discipline, handling of money and following up on responsibilities each of us needs to fulfil to make it work,” she says.

THE PAY OUT

The burial society contributes R200 monthly and when a member or family member whose name appears in the books passes on, R7 000 is paid out. Like with many other stokvels, a death certificate serves as proof that indeed the member is deceased. “We cannot compromise on things like that. If this is what we say in the constitution, it needs to be what we stick to,” Sannah says.

SEEKING HELP

 The burial society was established years ago, however, because of money being mishandled, things fell apart. Now, the 10 remaining women took it upon themselves to keep it going. “The problem is we started over but with the old way of doing things.

This is dangerous,” Sannah says. She doesn’t want to give up on their club, though. Burial societies are the ones that carry many families when someone dies, so Sannah believes they can restore Pfukani if they get the necessary assistance to continue being there for one another.

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Stokvel Corner: Sibongile Khumalo, product  head FNB Savings and Cash  Investments, says, “Work with  people you trust – ensure there’s  a common goal you are working  towards. Make sure there’s transparency  – by creating a constitution  and ensure there’s proper  recordkeeping.”  Khumalo adds that having a  constitution is crucial as it will  ensure that you identify the rules  which everybody is bound by,  like:

  • Contributions, new members  joining the stokvel, members exiting  the stokvel, etc.
  • The governance structure for  the stokvel – what roles do you  want to have for your office bearers,  for example. Will you also  have deputies for each role? 
  • The constitution needs to be  reviewed at least once a year to  ensure it is still relevant and to  ensure new members are also  clued up on the constitution. 

USEFUL SOLUTIONS

  • Take minutes at your meetings
  • Keep financial records of your  stokvels.
  • Consider opening a bank  account (you will also need a resolution  for who the signatories on  the bank account will be). 
  • Agree on how much needs to  be contributed and by when (this  should be in your constitution). 
  • Keep a record of who has  contributed and who has not. 
  • Agree on how those who have  not contributed will be handled  (for example, are there penalty  fees for delayed contribution?). 
  • Open a suitable bank account. 

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