The theft of R42 million from SA Post Office financial institution Postbank was condemned by Parliament’s communications portfolio committee on Monday.
Portfolio chairman Eric Kholwane said the bank’s security network needed to be tightened to prevent such a “hi-tech cyber heist”.
He appreciated the discovery of the theft and welcomed an investigation by the National Intelligence Agency and the police.
A cybercrime syndicate believed to have knowledge of the post office’s information technology system apparently stole the money between January 1 and 3.
According to the Sunday Times newspaper, the syndicate opened several Postbank accounts across the country late last year. During the New Year holiday period, the thieves gained access to a Rustenburg Post Office employee’s computer and made deposits from other accounts into their own.
Over the next three days, automated teller machines in Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal were used to withdraw cash from the accounts.
Postbank currently holds over R4 billion in deposits, and processes millions of rands in social grants throughout the year.
According to the newspaper, the theft comes three years after the bank spent over R15 million to upgrade its fraud-detection service.