The December holidays are when police are kept busy by a crime that only happens during the season – stokvel robberies. Stokvel Membes Robbed of R122 000 In Cash
After months of savings, stokvel groups across the country meet to share their loot, in some cases it is groceries and others it is money.
Trouble usually begins when the members go to the bank and withdraw large amounts of cash to share.
Free State police said since December started, they had been inundated with cases of stokvel groups being robbed.
On 3 December, a 52-year-old man from Molapo village and his sister went to Setsing and withdrew R51 800. When they disembarked from a taxi on their way home, they realised two men were following them.
Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the men demanded the bag containing the money at gunpoint.
“After that, they took the bag and went away… his sister followed them. One guy with a firearm fired one shot and hit the sister on the right upper arm before running away.”
Bank Four days later, on 7 December, Makhele said, three members of a stokvel withdrew R71 000 from the bank. After the withdrawal, one of them went home alone.
The other two went back to Thabong Lusaka where other members were waiting for their dividends.
“The complainant entered in the house and drank water. Suddenly she heard the other ladies screaming outside. She went outside and saw two unknown males, pointing [at] the ladies with firearms and taking their handbags.”
Makhele said one of the men entered the house and stole the woman’s handbag that had all the stokvel money.
He advised stokvel members to avoid carrying large amounts of money.
“Rather use bank transfers instead of withdrawing cash from the bank to share it. They [should] take their account numbers to the bank and ask the bank to transfer it to different society members. Another safer method is to use banking applications… so that they can easily transfer money amongst themselves in the comfort of their homes.”
He also advised the grocery stokvels to not withdraw large amounts before going shopping.
“Rather swipe the card after buying at the supermarket.”
Makhele said in stokvel cases, they should treat everyone, including members, as suspects.