Banks said on Thursday that replacing 1,400 automatic teller machines (ATMs) vandalised and looted during recent violent unrest could take about two months.

As much as R20m could have been taken, “however that is a rough estimate”, said Bongiwe Kunene, MD of the Banking Association SA.

Days of riots and looting earlier in July left more than 300 people dead and damaged thousands of businesses, including 269 bank branches.

Banks are still assessing the extent of the damage and developing recovery plans, with the indicative average replacement cost of an ATM at R385,000, Kunene told a media briefing.

“We haven’t been able to add up the exact numbers of how much was in the ATMs that were looted. What we do know is we’re working with estimates which are close to R20m, however that is a rough estimate,” Kunene said.

She said despite the disruption of cashpoints, there is no shortage of cash in the affected areas.

To help social grant recipients who live in areas where banking services are currently unavailable, customers will be able to use any ATM, including those not operated by their own bank, without incurring additional charges, from August 1 to September 30, Kunene said.

Rioting broke out on July 9 after former president Jacob Zuma started a 15-month jail term for contempt of court.



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