Members of a stokvel in uPhongolo, in the Qaqeni area of KwaZulu-Natal, are reeling from shock after they were robbed of the money they had saved for months for Christmas family festivities.

An undisclosed amount of cash was stolen when two unknown armed men stormed the house they were gathered in to distribute the funds.

One of the victims, Cebisile Nxumalo, says she is devastated and still can’t believe that their money is gone.

Ward 5 councilor, Twister Mavimbela, is urging the public to prioritise its safety at this time of the year.

She has called on stokvel group members to either distribute funds from the bank and transfer them into members’ bank accounts or ask law enforcement agencies for assistance.

While the incident is said to have been the first in uPhongolo, the stealing of stokvel money has become a trend in South Africa, especially this time of the year.  

According to incidents reported to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) between 2014 and 15 December 2017, 53 stokvel robbery incidents were reported, with 77% of incidents occurring during the festive season. 

The centre has also advised South Africans to find safer ways to transact, such as internet transfers or mobile banking, instead of carrying large amounts of cash. Report by Archurah Beula a Maputaland Community Radio Journalist