David Mategwa has received several accolades for his work. He admits he has to walk the tightrope of ensuring the institution is well managed while balancing members’ expectations
On arrival at the office of the current Police Savings and Credit Co-operative (Sacco) chairman David Mategwa, we had to wait for 15 minutes as he was attending to a distressed client.
The client had come to claim her late husband’s savings and other benefits accrued from the sacco. The problem was that her husband had listed all his property under his brother’s name in the1990s before they were married and had never changed his next of kin.
Within the short period, the woman left the office with a broad smile, assured that the matter legally favoured her and all lawful procedures would be followed to allow her acquire her husband’s savings.
This, according to Mategwa, is one of the reasons he enjoys being in leadership. Referring to himself as a servant, he says the satisfaction of seeing clients happy after good service is what he loves about his job in the police service for the past 15 years. Sitting in his office on Ngara Road in Nairobi, it was evident that Matengwa enjoys doing his job.
He was previously a traffic police officer before he rose to become the current Police sacco) chairman in 2014. He admits that the Traffic Department is viewed as the most corrupt in the police service, thus it was a rare opportunity to be entrusted with taking care of members’ savings.
However, Mategwa has beaten all odds to be the Best Chairman of the Year both in 2014 and 2015 as awarded by the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya under the Champions of Governance Award.
In November, he was the third person to be awarded the Distinguished Service award feted by African Confederation of Cooperatives and Savings Association in Malawi. Mategwa has not only achieved accolades for himself both nationally and internationally, but he has also seen the sacco scoop several awards under his tenure.
The sacco emerged the best managed sacco this year during the Ushirika Day celebrations. To achieve this, Mategwa says the sacco with assets worth Sh23 billion is audited by independent external auditors from time to time in order to achieve its current growth and to allow clients scrutinise the management.
“So far, the sacco is doing well and I believe it is because of the avenues we have created for our members to ease work and ensure quick service delivery, which in the long run is what makes a sacco tick,” says Mategwa.
Mategwa, however, says that he had never thought he would get to where he is today. He first joined the sacco in 1988 as a member, after a stint at the Kenya Police College in Kakamega. In 1995 after serving in Garissa for five years, he came to the capital at the Delegated Branch level then rose to a Traffic Department chair in 1998 and further joined the three-member supervisory committee in 2003.
“At the beginning of my working years, my salary was meagre, but I knew the importance of saving and used contribute Sh40 monthly towards the sacco. Right now anybody can join the sacco as we have members ranging from National Intelligent Service, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Judiciary,” he says.
According to Mategwa the two most important factors to maintaining a sacco are ensuring the company’s liquidity is strong and ensuring suppliers are paid on time and through laid down structures.
Unlike most saccos, the Police Sacco is fully computerised as files are not referred to when important company decisions are made while there is also virtual registration of members. The greatest challenge running the sacco, according to Mategwa, is the different expectations that members have despite changing markets and capping of interest rates.
Currently, members’ application fee is Sh2,000 and the share capital Sh25,600, while the minimum contribution per month is Sh1,000. As the number of sacco industry players grows, Mategwa says, societies should compete on pricing and efficiency and admits they could be forced to cut their lending rates to remain in business. He says significant challenges remain for the sacco industry to compete on a level playing field with commercial banks who are their closest rivals.