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The role of stokvels in the economic transformation of Ethekwini municipality.

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The study explores the role that the stokvel industry plays in the economic transformation of eThekwini Municipality and their marginalisation in the economic policy framework. Stokvels in South Africa have an estimated value of R49 billion and a membership of 11,5 million individuals, in a country with an informal economy valued at R160 billion and populace of 55 million - yet remain a hidden sector of the economy. Developing the stokvel industry could be key to poverty alleviation, reduction of unemployment and broadening equitable access to the ownership of the economy and capital accumulation; thus improving the livelihoods and raising the standard of living in eThekwini. There was dearth in the consulted literature on the role of stokvels and a model for integrating stokvels into the economic policy framework of a municipality. The objectives of the study were to; determine the economic contribution factors of stokvels, investigate their role in the economic policy framework, explore the views of the stokvel groups and those of Municipality Council (as policy-makers) on the role of stokvels in the economic policy framework, and lastly, to develop a model for integrating stokvels into the economic framework of the municipality. The study used a mixed methods design. 395 stokvel groups’ respondents for the quantitative research were selected for a simple random probability sampling method. For qualitative research, six policymakers members were selected for the purposive non-probability sampling method. The triangulated thematic findings of the study revealed converging recurring themes of stokvels in eThekwini as; money saving and investment, job creation, business opportunities, marginalisation, an unorganised stokvel industry, lack of inclusion in the policy framework and a municipality lacking development and training initiatives for stokvels. Findings also revealed a market value of stokvel industry of eThekwini of R3,2 billion per annum. The findings also revealed that 82.5% of stokvel group members were women thus presenting an opportunity for the municipality to empower women through stokvels. Findings revealed that 80.4% of stokvels in the municipality are not registered with NASASA despite the gazetted exemption notice by SARB authorising stokvels to practice their trade under the Banking Act 94 of 1990. Existing theory from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs layered with the Hayes and Wheelwright’s four-stage model were theoretically triangulated to develop a new model for the integration of stokvels into the economic framework of eThekwini Municipality. The study recommended that the policy-makers of eThekwini adopt the integration of stokvels into the economic policy framework of the municipality, and recommended a development model for stokvels. Combined these model would use as enablers to tailor-make the training and development programs for stokvels and increase access for stokvels to municipality support services to promote their development and alignment with private sector; for the economic transformation, development and growth of the municipality.


Master Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.