The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has confirmed that R119 million was stolen during the looting and violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
This was after hundreds of ATMs and branches were vandalised by people involved in the violence and looting in July.
Sabric said on Wednesday it was concerned that not all notes were dye-stained when stolen and that this money would be circulated back into the economy.
The country was gripped by violence over several days in the two provinces.
This led to President Cyril Ramaphosa to deploy the army to quell the violence.
“Sabric can now confirm that between July 9 and 17, at least 1 227 ATMs and 310 bank branches were vandalised or destroyed in the unrest. Of the 1 227 ATMs, 256 ATMs were breached (broken into using force) and 36 ATMs physically stolen from their sites, which have not been recovered to date. In addition, 82 in-branch safes were also breached,” said Sabric in a statement.
“Physical cash stolen from ATMs and bank branches amount to R119 400 243 to date. This amount excludes all further infrastructure damage and replacement costs,” it said.
Sabric CEO Nischal Mewalall said the violence and looting had also caused damage to the bank infrastructure.“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.” said Mewalall.
The government has set up a team of experts to investigate the looting and violence.