A banking industry body has warned South Africans that possession of dye-stained bank notes looted from ATMs in this week’s political-inspired anarchy could land them in serious trouble.
The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said in a statement on Friday that hundreds of ATMs were destroyed in the violence and looting that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, hampering the ability of bank customers to access cash and other financial services.
“ATMs hold cash in special containers that protect cash with dye-stain technology that is activated when someone tries to break open the container,” Sabric explained. “Once activated, the cash is stained with a green dye, thus defacing the notes, rendering them unusable as currency. The stained notes are recognised as having no monetary value once they are stained.”
The organisation warned that anyone in possession of these notes is “making themselves suspects of a criminal investigation that will seek to determine if they were involved in the stealing and unauthorised access of these ATM containers”.
“Sabric has noticed an increase in the attempted circulation of dye-stained notes in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, following the destruction of multiple ATMs. The people of South Africa are cautioned against accepting these dye-stained notes as legal tender as the onward use and value of these notes will not be honoured.”
Risk of prosecution
Sabric CEO Nischal Mewalall said: “You may also find yourself out of pocket after releasing goods or performing services because you will not be able to utilise the currency you were paid with. In addition, you also run the risk of being investigated, arrested and prosecuted for the destruction of these ATMs.”
Any person in possession of dye-stained notes should report them to the police on 0860 010 111, Mewalall said.
Sabric was formed by South African banks to support the industry in combating crime. – © 2021 NewsCentral Media