ATMs run out of cash

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Sep 29, 2012

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Cash is running out at ATMs and there could be further shortages as consumers “panic buy” because of the ongoing transport strike, experts have warned.

This will hit consumers hard on top of the news on Friday that the price of petrol will rise by at least 21c a litre from Wednesday.

The energy department said the price of 95 octane would rise by 23c and 93 by 21c.

On Friday, as the Road Freight Employers Association (RFEA) was granted an interdict forbidding further violence and intimidation, Capitec bank sent an SMS to its clients warning of limited cash at ATMs.

“Each ATM has an amount of cash in it and you basically have to refill it on a continuous basis,” said Charl Nel, the bank’s spokesman.

“Those that needed to be refilled after the strike started, now there is no money in them. It’s not only us being affected, it’s the whole cash-in-transit sector affected.

“On the one side you don’t get cash from the ATM, and on the other side, retailers do not get their cash collected from them. The impact is risk. The cycle of money is being disrupted by this strike.”

The bank had advised its clients to buy and pay accounts by card as well as draw cash at supermarkets.

“Either swipe your card and help retailers by drawing money from the tills. That can help solve the problem in a small way.”

Russell Berman, of Spark ATM systems, agreed. “We sit in a dangerous situation. It’s month-end and people have been paid their salaries, but can’t get access to cash to pay school fees or food.”

The Labour Court granted an interim interdict prohibiting violence by striking freight logistics workers, as talks continued last night to end the strike.

Penwell Lunga, the chairman of the freight owners, said it was pleased its interdict was successful. “We saw that lives were going to be lost and we had to prevent these incidents from happening.

“What the relief granted means now is that it gives the police more authority to tell striking workers not to gather where they are prohibited. This will assist us a great deal because the police will have a stronger hand on public roads to clear them so deliveries can take place,” he said.

Lunga said the employers had given themselves a deadline to have some wage agreement by Monday. But the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), which is leading the 20 000-strong workforce, opposed the urgent application.

Its spokesman, Vincent Masoga, said: “There is nothing unlawful in what we’re doing as Satawu. We remain lawful, orderly, peaceful, in our protest. In as much as there have been reported cases of violence, we’ve condemned those cases. We’ve realised none of our members are involved. They (the employers) cannot accuse us of sponsoring violence.

“We’re certainly going to continue with the intensification of the industrial action… if it means the strike stretches into next week, it will have to. We sympathise with fellow South Africans experiencing a shortage of food, but we’re hopeful the employer will change his mind and attitude and come to the table with what workers want.”

The workers have been on strike over wages since Monday after employers and unions deadlocked in wage negotiations. Unions demand a 12 percent pay rise while the RFEA proposed a staggered increase of 8.5 percent effective from March, and a further 0.5 percent from September next year.

But Neren Rau, the chief executive of the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci), has warned if the strike continued next week, “panic buying” would set in.

Woolworths said last night: “We have had some absenteeism in certain areas from the drivers’ strike. However, Woolworths has adequate contingency plans in place to deliver fresh produce and other products to our stores.”

The SA Express Parcel Association said the strike had resulted in lost productivity as it had interrupted deliveries of fuel and urgently needed items for mining, manufacturing and agriculture.

Independent on Saturday

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