Cash equivalent to US$8 million stolen from South African banks during unrest

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A police officer detains a suspect looting a shop in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 12, 2021. Soldiers have been deployed in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces to deal with violent protests and looting, the South African army said on Monday. Police said six people were killed and 219 people arrested over the weekend in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal following violent protests after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed for 15 months for contempt of court. Hundreds of shops and businesses across the two provinces were looted. (Photo by Yeshiel/Xinhua)
A police officer detains a suspect looting a shop in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 12, 2021. Soldiers have been deployed in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces to deal with violent protests and looting, the South African army said on Monday. Police said six people were killed and 219 people arrested over the weekend in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal following violent protests after former president Jacob Zuma was jailed for 15 months for contempt of court. Hundreds of shops and businesses across the two provinces were looted. (Photo by Yeshiel/Xinhua)

A total of 119,400,243 rand (about 8 million U.S. dollars) cash was stolen from ATM and bank branches during the unrest in July, said the banking industry on Wednesday.

The South African Banking Risk Information Center (SABRIC) said a total of 1,227 ATM and 310 bank branches were vandalized or destroyed in the unrest.

In South Africa, ATMs hold cash in special containers that protect cash with dye-stain technology that is activated when someone tries to break open the container. Once activated, the cash is stained with a green dye, thus defacing the notes, rendering them unusable as currency.

“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 organized crime, to corrupt more officials and to promote lawlessness,” said SABRIC CEO Nischal Mewalall.

He called on businesses to report any suspicious and unusual transactions to the Financial Intelligence Center. Enditem

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