ATM bombing spree

Alf Moselakgomo

Alf Moselakgomo

Another Standard Bank ATM in Mpumalanga was blown up in the early hours of yesterday morning, but the crooks escaped empty handed.

Petrol attendants at the KaNyamazane Engen garage in Nelspruit described the experience as "traumatising".

They said three men, pretending to be customers, approached them at about 3am and asked if they were selling cellphone airtime vouchers at the garage.

"One of them went to the cashier to buy the airtime while the other two remained outside," said an attendant, who wished to remain anonymous.

"After he bought airtime, he joined the other two and we thought they had left.

"Suddenly there was a blast and when we tried to investigate what was happening, one of them fired shots in the air and we dived for cover. It was only after the men had fled on foot that we called the police," he said.

He said they now feared working at night.

Bheki Khoza, a Standard Bank security manager in Nelspruit, said he was notified of the attack at about 4am.

Khoza said: "The robbers failed to even reach the safe and only damaged the ATM."

Since January seven Standard Bank ATMs have been blown up in Mpumalanga alone, which has cost the bank more than R1million.

The rash of ATM blasts is costing the banking industry millions.

A single ATM costs more than R170000 to repair.

Constable Chicco Nkosi of KaNyamazane police said a case of malicious damage to property was being investigated.