The Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) says that social grant recipients who live in areas where ATMs and branches have been destroyed by the recent unrest will be able to use any ATM – including those not operated by their own bank – without incurring additional charges.
This agreement will run from 1 August to 30 September 2021.
BASA said that the recent violence and unrest caused extensive damage to the infrastructure of banks in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.
The latest reports indicate that 1,223 automatic teller machines (ATMs) and 269 bank branches were destroyed in the unrest. As safety and security are restored in affected areas, ATMs are being rebuilt and replaced and financial networks repaired.
Banks are also encouraging their customers to use digital banking platforms, which remain resilient and continued to facilitate transactions throughout the unrest.
“In the coming weeks, banks will look to offer financial relief to affected clients with measures that may include bespoke arrangements and targeted payment relief. Enterprises that have been left without stock, without premises and without business, cannot be expected to meet their financial commitments as usual,” the association said.
It said that one of the measures under consideration is the provision of bridging finance while insurance claims are processed by the South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA), which is responsible for insuring against social and political unrest.
“Banks are working with SASRIA and the short-term insurance industry to find ways to simplify and shorten the claims process. Banks will take into account the documentary evidence produced by claimants when considering the provision of bridging finance facilities.”
BASA noted that between April 2020 to February 2021, banks provided R293 billion in Covid-19 financial relief to their customers.