Two years after COVID-19 disrupted lives, Batswana continue to feel the effects. Members of Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisation Society (SACCOS) are not an exception, as they cannot access their savings to lessen the hardships brought about by the pandemic and the economy.
“I am now frustrated and agitated with the future of my savings at SACCOS. I have been visiting their offices asking about the progress of my January application to no avail. I have been saving money so that I can depend on it during difficult times and emergencies but the wait is killing me. We used to be assisted on time but it is no longer the case,” said a member.
Another concerned member sharing the same sentiments said, as teachers, they once experienced the same delays and ended up losing their money under Botswana Teachers Union's (BTU) savings and credit co-operative society hence they are worried it could be a case of history repeating itself.
“In the past SACCOS used to help us within 48 hours but this year we have been experiencing worrisome delays. I have been waiting to be assisted for almost two months and it worries me because I have been saving money to help me when having emergencies but I am disappointed with the delay,” he said.
Quizzed on members’ concerns, SACCOS vice-chairperson, Mpho Maruping admitted the delay stating that their office is overwhelmed with applications since the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The economic pressure is high ever since COVID-19 hit the country hard. We have never received these massive applications before. Our members have been pushed by these hardships and all they think of is their savings at SACCOS. Members should know that we do not always have readily available funds because we do invest that money to make interests something that some of our members do not take kindly when in need of quick cash,” Maruping said.
However, Maruping pleaded with SACCOS members to consider long term investment, not short term as is the case because they frequently visit the office in need of cash.
“When members apply for money we assess their reasons and SACCOS can refuse to give them money. We encourage members to invest in the long term and not to ask for money after every three months. I do understand their concerns because in their nature when trade union members want money they become so irritated,” he said.
Maruping further stated that they are also constrained by policies they have in place to always have readily available funds. He vowed SACCOS would consider educating its members on how they operate to regular complaints.
“COVID-19 has disrupted our plans to do more public education and sensitize our members on how SACCOS works. There is a need for us to emphasize on having quality members,” he said.
BOSETU SACCOS exists solely to improve the wealth accumulation of its members, especially those working in the education sector. BOSETU SACCOS offers an annual interest of 12% for members with a 12-month pay as you earn savings and the 12% interest payout was deliberately offered to entice members to build a rewarding culture of saving.
Besides the pay, as you earn a 12-month offer, SACCOS members can also earn five percent annual interest for ordinary shares, meaning that a joining member or existing member can invest a lump sum at once and reap the five percent benefits at year-end.
The BOSETU SACCOS also offers loans of up to P100,000 to members, according to their value of savings, at a ratio of 1:2.