Citizen Reporter
1 minute read
18 Aug 2021
1:03 pm

SA unrest: Nearly R120 million in ‘hard cash’ looted from banks, ATMs

Citizen Reporter

Between 9-17 July, at least 1,227 ATMs and 310 bank branches were vandalised or destroyed in the unrest.

Springfield Retail centre ion fire as vehicles are broken and stripped in the parking lot on 13 July 2021 in Durban, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images

The amount of hard cash lost during last month’s chaotic looting and unrest in parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has recently been quantified.

According to a press statement issued by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), ATMs and bank branches lost R119,400,243 in cash. 

This excludes infrastructure damage and replacement costs. 

ATMs targetted during unrest

Between 9-17 July, at least 1,227 ATMs and 310 bank branches were vandalised or destroyed in the unrest. 

“There is great concern over the impact of intelligence failures and the state’s response to the eight consecutive days of civil unrest that resulted in unprecedented destruction of banking infrastructure in South Africa,” Sabric CEO Nischal Mewalall said. 

Of the 1,227 ATMS that were hit, 256 were broken into, and 36 ATMs were physically stolen and have not been recovered. 

82 in-branch safes were also breached in the violence. 

“The theft of R119,400,243 in hard cash is very concerning. Not all notes are dye-stained and millions in unsoiled notes will be injected back into the economy. 

“This money is the proceeds of crime and there is now a war chest available to fund more organised crime, to corrupt more officials and to promote lawlessness,” Mewalall said. 

Cash threshold reporting

Sabric said the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism was the only way in which those behind the crimes could be detected. 

The centre has urged businesses to be stringent about cash threshold reporting, and not to engage in any suspicious transactions. 

If unusual transactions are picked up, business owners are urged to contact the Financial Intelligence Centre immediately.

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