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 1227 ATMs and 310 bank branches were vandalised or destroyed.
Of the 1227 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.