“WhatsApp stokvels are not scams, they are as legit as traditional stokvels.
"We understand that people have not yet fully transitioned to digital platforms. Even with digital banking, people once never trusted it ... We encourage people to join and invest ..." it stated.
The National Stokvel Association of SA (Nasasa) has warned people against the scheme, comparing it to pyramid schemes which have no underlying investments to generate returns for investors, and collapse when the recruitment of new members cannot be maintained.
Zondi said she had no idea the stokvels' “success” relied on recruiting new members.
“After I had sent the money, it got quiet in the group. Suddenly people were no longer joining, but leaving the group, and when I asked what was happening, as I had not been paid, I was told to recruit people.
“I was angry, because I borrowed the money, and shocked, because how was I going to recruit people when I did not receive the money myself,” she said.
On a second group she joined, Zondi said she was shocked to discover she had been removed as a member just a few hours after making a R200 deposit.
Mbhele said she “invested” R600 on August 28, but was yet to see any returns.
She has contacted the three people she knew who were linked to her deposits to ask for her money back.
“One of them said I was crazy, one said I must recruit people and another blocked my number, including the administrator,” a fuming Mbhele said.