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How Stokvels in South Africa operate? A comprehensive study by Wakandi

Stokvels in South Africa play a critical role when it comes to offering financial services to millions of unbanked people. It is estimated that there are more than 8,20,000 Stokvels in South Africa with a total membership of 11.4 million people, handling over R44 billion per year. 

Wakandi Group together with Yellow Dot Africa conducted a feasibility study and a survey on Stokvels to understand the needs of the future users of the Credit Association Management System (CAMS). The study helped us to identify challenges these groups face, gain feedback from real users and ensure that CAMS offers the right solution to those problems. 

The objective of the study

The feasibility study and survey were conducted by Ms Busi Skenjana on 1097 members of Stokvels in a span of two months. The objective of the study was to determine three key factors –

  1. How Stokvels operate today
  2. What challenges do Stokvels face and what are their needs
  3. Gain feedback on our CAMS solution

The study was conducted in two phases. In phase 1, an online survey was conducted due to COVID-19 restrictions. In phase 2, in-depth interviews, as well as telephonic interviews, were conducted on focus groups to gain user feedback on a prototype created for CAMS. 

Phase 1 – Survey

Here are some interesting findings from our survey conducted on Stokvel members from 8th July to 15th July 2020.

  1. According to the survey, 57% of members of these Stokvels are female and 41% are male. It shows how Stokvels play an important role in promoting savings amongst women and contribute to women empowerment.
  2. 56.6% of the participants take cash to the meetings as their monthly deposits while only 44% deposit cash directly into Stokvel’s bank account. In both cases, the money is deposited to the bank account. However, they do not use the bank as a lending institution. Admins generally withdraw this money from the account to give loans to members. 
  3. 53% of members apply for loans from Stokvels during meetings and 21% call chairman/secretary of the Stokvel to avail a loan. 
  4. 97% of the participants answered that the members need to pay a penalty fee for late payments. This is in addition to the element of peer pressure. 
  5. 56% of the participants agreed that the record of loan activities and repayment is stored in a book. Paper-based records are prone to frauds and they can be easily tampered with for mean benefits. 
  6. 88% of the participants would trust a technical solution to manage savings, loans, and other operations. 

Phase 2 – In-depth Interviews

Phase 2 included face-to-face interviews and telephonic rounds for in-depth findings conducted from 8th August to 20th August 2020.

  1. Members of Stokvels demand a more effective way of managing Stokvels in terms of communication, contribution, and managing loan activities. 
  2. 40% of participants consider transparency as the most important factor in a system that promises to improve the management of their Stokvels. 
  3. 50% of participants prefer a mobile application for managing Stokvel activities. 

User feedback on CAMS

During the interview, participants also got a chance to use the prototype created for CAMS and share their experiences. They checked out various features of the app to understand how CAMS can meet their requirements. After a brief usage, participants shared their feedback with us. 80% of them said the app was easy to use.


Stokvels face various challenges as they function in this ever-changing digital environment. With CAMS, we aim to provide better security, ease of use and simplified functions. This is one reason we are creating the solution in close collaboration with the local community and getting their continuous feedback as we move ahead. Our goal is to help members of Stokvels, whether be it an administrator or a member, gain more control over their finance, generate better reports, and enjoy a more seamless way of working. You can request for a demo of CAMS here. 

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