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Banks will allow grant recipients to use any available ATM without additional charges

The Banking Association of SA says the latest reports from its members showed that 1 223 ATMs and 269 bank branches were destroyed during the unrest. Photo: File

The Banking Association of SA (BASA) says social grant recipients can use ATMs not belonging to their banks without incurring additional charges.

The banking industry is still trying to repair infrastructure destroyed during the unrest.

BASA said grant recipients can use any ATM from 1 August 2021 to 30 September 2021. The organisation which represents banks in SA said the latest reports from its members showed that 1 223 ATMs and 269 bank branches were destroyed during the unrest.

Some of these have been repaired and restored to full service. It added that despite the destruction of cashpoints, there is currently no cash shortage in areas affected by the unrest.

Relief to businesses affected by the unrest

While banks’ immediate preoccupation is restoring cash points and reopening closed branches, BASA said banks are exploring several ways to provide relief to their affected customers. These may include targeted payment relief, especially to businesses that were left without stock or operating premises because of looting and arson.

BASA said those businesses cannot be expected to meet their financial commitments as usual, but they won’t get debt write-offs either.

“Banks use their customers’ savings to extend loans and have a responsibility to ensure that they are not exposed to undue risk of not being repaid. Customers who were in good standing before the unrest should contact their banks as soon as possible to see how they may best be assisted,” said BASA.

The organisation said one of the relief measures banks are considering is providing bridging finance to these businesses while the South African Special Risk Insurance Association (Sasria) processes their insurance claims. It said businesses who didn’t have Sasria insurance will need the government’s support.

BASA said the Covid-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme showed that business owners are usually unwilling to take on additional debt to rebuild during uncertain times. Therefore, it suggested that they need alternative relief measures, such as targeted grants and suspension of rates and taxes.

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