Johannesburg - ATM withdrawals increased in November as striking miners returned to work, according to figures released on Wednesday.

According to Spark ATM Systems, which installs and maintains the machines, average cash withdrawals in November increased to R442.71, up from R439.27 the previous month.

Managing director Marc Sternberg said this upturn could be attributed in part to the resolution of industrial action in the mining sector and miners' wage increases.

“This is highlighted by the rise in average cash withdrawal values at wholesale locations, which recorded a month-on-month growth of 1.36 percent and year-on-year growth of 16.96 percent.”

Withdrawals at ATMs at wholesale locations also increased.

Sternberg said this was likely because of spaza shop owners stocking up ahead of the festive season.

Last month, he predicted there would be increased cash withdrawals for November and December.

There was concern that the recent farmworker strikes in the Western Cape could dampen withdrawals.

IHS Global Insights principal economist Ronel Oberholzer said there had been a month-on-month drop of 2.7 percent at ATMs in rural locations, which indicated the impact of agricultural strikes on cash withdrawal.

“Many of the farmworkers are seasonal, migrant workers who spend their money before they return home, so if they lose their wages, they obviously do not have the disposable income to use, resulting in the decrease in ATM withdrawal activity recorded at these locations.”

The Western Cape also recorded the lowest average cash withdrawal in the country at R391.48.

Nonetheless, Sternberg expected December to follow historical annual trends with an increase in the average amount of cash withdrawals.

“Workers usually get bonuses and people are typically more willing to spend more money while they are on holiday. In addition to this, many workers go home to visit family for the holidays and draw cash to take along.” - Sapa