The violent unrest that has gripped parts of SA over the past week has resulted in over 1,400 automated teller machines (ATMs) being vandalised, says the Banking Association of SA (Basa).

It also said over 300 bank branches and post offices has also been attacked.

“To safeguard their employees, banks were compelled to close over 1,300 branches between July 12 and July 14. Services have been further disrupted by the destruction of many retail outlets, which often also serve as cash points, especially in outlying areas,” Basa said.

“Of urgent concern is the fact that nationally, 11.5-million South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) beneficiaries use ATMs and other point of sales devices to collect their child support, pensions and other grants.”

Basa said it was working with other stakeholders to establish the extent of damage and destruction. “Once this data is in hand, we will set measures in place to meet the needs of Sassa clients.”

The organisation said it will take many weeks before the hundreds of ATMs that have been destroyed can be returned to service, at significant cost.

“Banks are an essential part of our country’s economic infrastructure and provide vital services to the communities in which they operate,” it said.

Basa said it supports the government’s efforts to “re-establish security and respect for the rule of law across SA by swiftly apprehending and prosecuting those guilty of vandalism, looting and damaging our national effort to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and to build an inclusive, growing economy”.



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