Over R119m in cash stolen during July’s civil unrest – and not all of it was dye-pack protected

The looting and civil unrest that gripped KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July was the deadliest violence South Africa has seen in its 27 year democracy. Over 330 people died, with multiple businesses being destroyed, looted and set alight. The South African Property Owners Association estimated that the rioting could have placed 150,000 jobs at risk and potentially cost the economy over R50bn in lost output. Amidst the chaos, looters vandalised and destroyed properties and infrastructure, including banks and ATMs. According to Sabric’s Nischal Mewalall, money stolen from branches and ATMs total an astonishing R119.400,243 to date. While money stored in these facilities are generally dye-pack protected, not all of it was in this instance. Speaking to MyBroadband, Mewalall said “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.” 1227 ATM’s were destroyed during the civil unrest, 256 breached and 36 stolen and not recovered. 82 bank safes were also breached. Read the original article, “R119 million in cash stolen during July riots — and not all of it was dye-stained.” Republished with permission. – Jarryd Neves

R119m in cash stolen during July riots – and not all of it was dye-stained

By MyBroadband

Not all of the cash stolen during the July riots are dye-stained and millions in unsoiled notes will be injected back into the economy, and fund organised crime.

This is the dire warning from the CEO of the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), Nischal Mewalall, who said that the cash stolen from ATMs and bank branches amounts to R119,400,243 to date.

“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,” said Mewalall.

This amount excludes all further infrastructure damage and replacement costs.

Sabric said that during the widespread looting and vandalism that gripped KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng in July at least 1,227 ATMs and 310 bank branches were vandalised or destroyed.

Of the 1,227 ATMs destroyed between 9 July and 17 July, 256 were breached and 36 were physically stolen from their sites which have not been recovered.

In addition, 82 in-branch safes were breached.

Sabric said the civil unrest saw a breakdown in the rule of law that resulted in loss of life and jobs as well as the widespread theft and destruction of infrastructure.

“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,” said .

“The theft of R119,400,243 in hard cash is very concerning,” said Mewalall.

Sabric said that the effectiveness of South Africa’s anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism regime will be critical in detecting the individuals behind these crimes.

It urged businesses to be stringent about cash threshold reporting, not to engage in facilitating suspicious transactions and immediately report any suspicious and unusual transactions to the Financial Intelligence Centre.

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