n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The bombing of ATMs in South Africa

Special Edition 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The bombing of automated teller machines (ATMs) in South Africa has over the years become a major concern for both the banking industry and law enforcement agencies. The primary motive of such bombings is to gain access to the cash stored in the machines. The method used to gain access to the cash, consists of a dangerous combination of substantially organised, heavily armed gangs and commercial explosives. Large sums of money are lost by the banking industry annually. These direct losses exclude the costs to repair or replace the damaged ATMs. In addition, ATM bombings have put the lives of innocent people, perpetrators and both public and private law enforcement personnel at risk. Lives have been lost, many people injured and hundreds of ATMs have been damaged and / or destroyed by these bombings. Bank clients, particularly those in previously disadvantaged areas, have been significantly inconvenienced by the bombings of ATMs closest to them. This article explores the nature and extent of ATM bombings in South Africa. In particular, it focuses on the current state of security measures at ATMs and the modus operandi of ATM bombing syndicates. This was done with the aim of making recommendations to improve ATM security measures, so as to deter future attacks of this kind.

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