ATM bombs

2008-07-28 00:00

South Africa must be setting a new world record: recent ATM bombings raised the tally for this year well beyond 300 at a national rate of one to two per day. It is an unacceptable situation close to anarchy.

Ironically, it is the accessibility of ATMs that creates a soft target. Ease of construction make them an answer to the absence of basic banking services in townships. But if the scale of robberies is not curbed, banks will be tempted to locate their facilities only in well-guarded malls and the lives of many people will be further complicated.

Bank managements say they are working on technological innovations to thwart the bombers. Ideally, this would somehow render ill-gotten gains worthless. But there is another dimension. The fact that explosives are in the wrong hands represents a broader security risk. What is their source and what are the country’s intelligence services doing?

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