Proud Limehill homeowner
Thulisile Sithole (33) is a member of Ikhwezi SCG (savings and credit group) in Limehill, a peri-urban area in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal. 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 R6,000 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 own groceries.
Since joining the savings and credit group, Thulisile has managed to save one to five shares per month at a value of R100 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 R600, blocks for R1,800, cement for R2,460, and paid the builder half his fee, which was R20,000 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 R10,000 was still outstanding. Thulisile borrowed R7,000 from the SCG and asked her sister, who was also saving with another SCG, to lend her R3,000.
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 R37,000. Thulisile’s husband applied for a bank loan, but only qualified for R30,000. They accepted the R30,000 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 R68,740 and she received R7,550. She took R7,000 from the share-out money to pay off the roof and the house was finally completed. Her husband pays around R400 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.