ANC councillor embroiled in stokvel scandal
Members don’t believe treasurer’s claim he lost R92k in a road accident
An ANC councillor has been embroiled in the mysterious disappearance of almost R92,000 from an Eastern Cape stokvel.
Furious and hurt stokvel members, all elderly workers or unemployed, say they do not believe Ndlambe ward 7 councillor Mbuyiseli Yali’s story that he crashed his car on the way back from the bank and the money was stolen from the accident scene.
The members claimed that after visiting Yali, their Masakhane Stokvel treasurer, in hospital where he was lying wearing a neckbrace, they went and inspected his Nissan Navara bakkie at his home and saw that a bumper had been “carefully” removed.
They said they were depending on the money to tide them over the festive season.
Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender confirmed that a case was opened at the Nelson Mandela Township police station on December 21 against Yali, 37.
The case is being investigated by the Port Elizabeth commercial crimes unit, she added.
Govender said Yali allegedly told the stokvel club members that he lost the R91,476 in a car accident while coming from the bank on his way to share it with the members.
As a result, 26 members of the Masakhane Stokvel club – which is entirely made up of domestic workers, hawkers, general workers and unemployed people – were unable to share their dividends on December 15 and were plunged into a sad, broke Christmas.
Nontombi Gqeke, 60, who took an R8,000 loan in November with the expectation that she would repay it with her stokvel dividend, said she was sliding into depression.
“My grandchildren’s school uniforms and stationery, lunch, Christmas festivities and my entire livelihood were all budgeted for on the basis of my share.
“I lie awake every night.
“The loan shark is also harassing me.”
Govender said Yali was tasked with depositing monthly contributions of members into the stokvel’s bank account.
Stokvel member Thembinkosi Nyendwana, 55, said while the members’ monthly contributions amounted to R91,476 over an 11-month period, with the accumulation of interest in the savings account, Yali was supposed to come back with more than R100,000 for the members.
Angry stokvel members told the Dispatch that they did not believe the story about the accident.
Nyendwana said he had reported Yali to the ANC Sarah Baartman regional chair, Scara Njadayi. Njadayi’s phone rang unanswered on Thursday.
Contacted for comment, Yali said he was standing firm with his defence that he lost the money in the accident, but also said he was determined to pay it back. “I can’t answer your questions because, as you say, there is a case which will surely go to court so this matter is sub judice. I am waiting for the police to contact me. That is all I can say,” said Yali.
Nyendwana said: “This young man [Yali] could not show us proof of banking or a slip to show that he had withdrawn the money that day, or any proof showing that he had been saving the money the entire year. We trusted him as our community leader and as a boy who grew up in our community.”
Nyendwana said the group instructed Yali to withdraw the money on December 15 so that it could be shared.
“We grew suspicious when he didn't return from the bank by 1pm so we decided to call him because people wanted to do Christmas shopping.
“That is when he answered his phone and told us he was in hospital.”
Nyendwana told the Dispatch that Yali had told them he would sell his bakkie to repay the members and that in the meantime other ANC councillors had organised R20,000 to pay the stokvel members upfront. “We rejected his promise and measly offer because we are a large group.”
In a separate incident, a Jeffreys Bay local stokvel treasurer, Nombulelo Mxakana, 38, was released on R1,000 bail by the Humansdorp magistrate’s court on December 20.
She was arrested and charged with stealing R91,690 belonging to her stokvel. The case was postponed to January 21, police spokesperson Captain Majola Nkohli said...