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Aspirant stokvel members plan to venture into property

Group saves money for children's education

Manong a Gauta started between a group of friends who wanted to help each other during difficult times but has now grown to a stokvel which owns a piece of land.
Manong a Gauta started between a group of friends who wanted to help each other during difficult times but has now grown to a stokvel which owns a piece of land.
Image: Supplied

Manong a Gauta was started by a group of friends who wanted to help each other during difficult times but it has now grown into a stokvel that owns a piece of land.

The group has big goals.

Having been established in 2015 by four friends, Manong a Gauta, which loosely translates to vulture of gold, started with each member contributing R300 to ensure they would have something to contribute if one of them suffered bereavement.

“When we started the stokvel, it was a helping hand so that when there is an emergency at somebody’s home, we could assist them. If there was any event at someone’s home, we would take from the money we raised and donate it to the family,” said the stokvel’s founding member and secretary general Mokopane Ledwaba.

“We contributed towards funerals. At the time, our average age was 24 and we realised that we are getting older and could not just rely on our parents to do everything when there is a funeral at home we also have to help.

Manong a Gauta started between a group of friends who wanted to help each other during difficult times but has now grown to a stokvel which owns a piece of land.
Manong a Gauta started between a group of friends who wanted to help each other during difficult times but has now grown to a stokvel which owns a piece of land.
Image: Supplied

“Understanding that money might be an issue, [we thought] maybe if we form this group, in the unfortunate event that one of us loses a family member, we can take some of the money we have contributed and give it to them, and that will go a long way in assisting.”

He said so far, they had contributed R4,000 each to two families who suffered bereavements.

“It is not a lot of money but it helped because there is a lot that needs to be done when there is a funeral. When we realised we had a lot of money and funerals do not occur too often, we decided to take road trips and contribute towards weddings.

“As we evolved, we started contributing more money and we started going on annual road trips. Eventually we decided that we were wasting too much money on road trips.

“We decided to turn to investment so that our children could also benefit. All of us [members] are parents and we needed to think about the future. Just before the lockdown in 2020, we decided to buy a piece of land. We bought two hectares of land in the rural outskirts of Limpopo in Ga-Mashashane.

“We plan to build commercial properties in future. Even if those properties are not built next year or in the next two years but in 20 years, if we have something that generates an income for us, we can pass it on to our children who can carry on with the legacy,” said Ledwaba.

He said at the moment, the stokvel was looking at getting into farming while they raised money to build properties.

He said members of the stokvel were all men aged between 29 to 32. They contribute R1,000 a month and meet several times a year.

Ledwaba said they took their stokvel seriously and anyone wishing to join had to go through an interview. “Many people have failed the interview. People who want to join the stokvel must be serious and goal-orientated,” said Ledwaba.

He said their joining fee was determined by how much investment the stokvel had.

Manong a Gauta stokvel members go on a road trip annually, with money for accomodation and food taken from the group's contributions.
Manong a Gauta stokvel members go on a road trip annually, with money for accomodation and food taken from the group's contributions.
Image: Supplied

He said one of the challenges they faced was some members losing their jobs, making it difficult for them to continue with their contributions.

“We are building a brotherhood. We do not want to kick people out of the stokvel, especially when we know how serious and committed they are to helping the group achieve its goals. Our constitution states that when a member misses a month’s contribution, we give them a month to pay and we charge a R50 fine.

“If a member misses three consecutive payments, we call a meeting to look at reasons and what can be done. We give you the option to take a break and come back when your situation has improved or you can leave but we do not like chasing people out, especially when they have shown us that they are serious,” said Ledwaba.

He said buying the piece of land was one of their biggest successes, adding that they were looking at growing.

“We have started a separate fund to which we will be contributing R50 every month. That is not for us, it is for our children so that when they are ready to start their own stokvel, should they have an interest, they won’t have to start from scratch like us.

“That R50 a month for the next 20 years, you can imagine how much that will be. They will have a start-up,” said Ledwaba.

He said the stokvel still goes on one road trip annually with money for accommodation and food taken from the group’s contributions.

Founding member and chairperson Morgan Modiba said the future looked bright for the stokvel and attributed this to most members being business-orientated.

“We have started contributing R10 each towards the education of our children. The member will get the money once their child goes to varsity. We decided to do this because fees are expensive and many parents cannot afford to pay for them. These contributions will make it easier for us to pay for our childrens education," Modiba said.

mashabas@sowetan.co.za

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