With over 82% of South Africans in financial distress we can no longer turn a blind eye and pretend that the only cause of the problem is just people making bad financial decisions. How can 83% of the population make the same mistake, generation after generation ? Well, at some point we have to agree that a part of the problem is HOW our financial system is designed in South Africa. We are a country oppressed financially and we need to apply all of our minds to GETTING OUT!!
The challenge is BIG
Recently the EFF party called for the shutdown of clicks stores due to the advertisement that was regarded as racially offensive referring to white women’s hair as “normal” and to African hair as “dry, and breaking” the racial implications there were just too much to ignore, I cringed when I saw that on twitter but I still think that that advert is much, much better than some of the banking advertisements that I have seen!
Banks offer loans as finance instruments that one should consider to, go on holiday, fix their parents’ house and in general for people to “spoil themselves” in a developed country, such an advert is harmless but in a country where the black majority is still in its first generation that is allowed to take credit since democracy, these adverts are deeply poisonous and we see their effects in the status of the household finances. In 2019, statistics South Africa released a report saying that when an average South African worker gets paid, 72% of their salary is already owed and goes to servicing debt. That means that most workers in SA are living on less than 28% of their earnings and there is no indication that this is going to improve.
The pain is REAL
When I say “worker” it is easy for you to see the word and not a face of an actual person, but at Zoluhle Financial Wellness we see the faces and we hear the painful stories, of mothers in the government sector who have more than R3,000 deducted for funeral and death benefits every month, and yet they are forced to go without food monthly due to debt, they cannot even imagine cancelling these financial products because they have been paying them for 15, 20 years. As they approach retirement, they have no homes, they cannot afford to educate their children and they do not qualify for the government education assistance schemes.
These are men and women who have lost millions in income due to interest payments and they have never, ONCE had anyone explain what is interest and how it affects their loans, all they know is that they have been paying these facilities for years and they simply do not get paid up!! These are hardworking, honest members of society who simply suffer because they do not know HOW to play the money game in South Africa.
The Common Story
In august 2020, I shared a true story of a working educator who has a revolving credit facility with that shop whose water makes you speak better English, every month for the past 24 months she has paid R1,000 into her account and sometime she would pay R2000 in an effort to reduce the amount due, she never had a month unpaid without paying double the month before.
She came to Zoluhle desperate, she did not understand what was happening! having paid more than R26,000 over 24 months into the account, the balance due had not shifted! She submitted an account statement that shows that he balance in September of 2018 was R57,181.61 and after paying every month, the balance in June of 2020 was R57,315.33 she owed MORE!! Instead of reducing, her balance had increased by R133,72 my heart broke for her, she is a hardworking citizen. What she didn’t know was that the monthly interest on her account was growing by an average of R1,150 and therefore if she continued paying according to the statement, she would have spent the rest of her life paying. What is worse, because more than 72% of her salary is already committed to debt, she had no way of significantly increasing her repayment.
The Call for Change
We are a country in a consumer credit crisis and the solution is a complex one and needs various role players to agree that the status quo in South Africa whilst legal, is not sustainable, we need all role players to recognize that apartheid was legal, that business at the time did their best to not see the pain that 83% of the country was going through. This time we have another 83% of our society in pain, oppressed with a heady yoke of financial illiteracy and a predatory lending market, like we did in 1990’s half measures will not suffice.
Those who are overindebted are not outnumbered, they are simply unorganized but as the pressure increases, they will organize, and we need to have put in place reforms to aide your existing clients to get better.
Zoluhle Financial Wellness
Zoluhle Financial Wellness is a black woman owned firm, founded by a daughter of a homeless miner and overindebted educator, we have been working with South Africans since 2014 helping them navigate out of the debt trap. At Zoluhle all of our resources, time and effort has gone into understanding the nature of the challenges brought about by the post democracy consumer credit environment and to develop solutions for the stakeholders in this crisis.
- We work with consumers as alternative dispute resolution agents, and credit counsellors to provide financial literacy training, credit assessment and counselling helping them find a new way of being.
- We work with employers, and employee financial wellness partners, helping them create a workforce who are not homeless due to over indebtedness.
- We work with responsible financial services providers, to establish protocols to identify clients approaching and in distress and providing them with an outlet, literacy and counselling to rehabilitate and get them back in the healthy and informed use of credit.
Whatever your role in the solution and however you need to partner, contact Zoluhle Financial Wellness by using the following means:
Business WhatsApp: 0615838356
Email: [email protected]
Become part of the solution, pay off all your debt. Let us move South Africa forward.