Thulisile Sithole - Proud Homeowner
Thulisile Sithole (33) is a member of Ikhwezi SCG (savings and credit group) in Limehill, a peri-urban area in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The SCG – among the first to be formed in the area in in October 2012 – currently has 20 members, three men and 17 women.
Thulisile is married and has three children aged seven, five and one. She also adopted her brother-in-law’s daughter (now aged five) when he passed away. Her husband (41) works in Johannesburg and so she lives much of the time alone with the children. Thulisile is unemployed making her husband the primary breadwinner. The money that Thulisile saves with her SCG is the money she gets from her husband who earns $600 per month.
Every month he sends money to them and visits every other month. Some of her husband’s salary is spent on groceries for Thulisile and the children. They have two store accounts at OK Furniture and Edgars, which he settles. He also has to put aside money for transport to work and his groceries.
Since joining the savings and credit group, Thulisile has managed to save one to five shares per month at a value of $10 per share.
Before joining the group Thulisile and her family stayed in a two-roomed house and they had a separate rondavel as a kitchen. The couple had long thought about extending their house but did not have enough money. However, Thulisile’s husband did start saving up for an extension and at the beginning of 2013 they managed to start with the building. They bought sand for $60, blocks for $180, cement for $246, and paid the builder half his fee, which was $2 000 in total. The materials were not enough to finish the house and they still needed doors and windows. Thulisile suggested to her husband that they borrow from her SCG. By then Thulisile had saved enough shares to get the amount they needed to buy the materials to finish the house. Thus she took the loan and her husband helped her pay it back.
When the couple found they did not have money to pay the builder his outstanding fee, they approached the SCG again. An amount of $1 000 was still outstanding. Thulisile borrowed $700 from the SCG and asked her sister, who was also saving with another SCG, to lend her $300. Thus they were able to finish paying the builder and they paid back all their loans.
The Sitholes then needed to buy roofing material. The quoted cost of the roof was $3 700. Thulisile’s husband applied for a bank loan, but only qualified for $3 000. They accepted the $3 000 and put it in as a deposit and waited for share-out. On the day of the share-out, Thulisile’s SCG had managed to collectively save $6 874 and she received $755. She took $700 from the share-out money to pay off the roof and the house was finally completed.
Her husband pays around $40 a month for the loan he took from the bank.
Thulisile admits her house still needs plastering in and out, some furniture, ceilings, floor tiles and a veranda. However, the family is already staying in the house and she says she believes that she will obtain all the above-mentioned items one by one with the help of the SCG.
“If it was not for SaveAct, my house would not have been finished by this time. It was going to take me another year or two before I could live in this house. Thank you SaveAct for SCGs,” she says.
This year Thulisile joined a second group called Inkanyezi on behalf of her husband who sends money every month to be saved.
Thanks Paul for posting this story. I want to acknowledge Nomthy Mbonambi, a SaveAct field officer, for compiling it, and bringing to life the complex ways in which people 'make a plan'.
Mon, July 21, 2014 | Anton Krone
Thanks Pual for posting this story, I feel hounored. I would also like to say that we at SaveAct appreciate that members of groups are happy to share these stories with us, letting us know how the savings model has impacted on their lives. This helps us as an organisation to reflect. thank you.
Wed, July 23, 2014 | Nomthandazo Mbonambi