Social security grants and the availability of cash continued without interruption since the July 2021 unrest, despite the extensive damage to banking infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
To assist social grant recipients and those who live in areas where Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and branches had been destroyed, bank customers have been able to use any ATM, including those not operated by their own bank, without incurring additional charges, from 01 August 2021 until 30 September 2021. However, banks have to recover the operating costs of the ATM network to ensure that they can be sustained and maintained, in the service of all South Africans. Subsequently, from 01 October charges for using ATMs not operated by a customer’s bank, will be re-instated.
Every month 12,5 million beneficiaries receive grants worth over R15 billion, using banking infrastructure. Banks, together with other stakeholders, are also working with SASSA to assist with the re-introduction of the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant. SASSA is encouraging its beneficiaries to open bank accounts so that they can receive their grants directly. Many banks have products that are appropriate for grant recipients.
After further review of the damage to banking infrastructure since the unrest, it is estimated that 1 976 ATMs and 332 bank branches were vandalised or damaged, along with retail outlets, post offices and other cash distribution points. The recovery of the damaged banking and cash distribution infrastructure is ongoing.
Banks remain committed to ensuring that their customers have reasonable access to appropriate and affordable bank services.
Yevai Chanyau: Brunswick
Cell phone: +27 71 604 7063