Gateway to the Breede Valley

Never use dye-stained notes from ATMs

July 23, 2021

ATMs are an essential part of our country’s economic infrastructure, providing vital services to our communities.

During the recent civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, hundreds of ATMs were destroyed, hampering the ability of bank customers to access cash and other financial services.

ATMs hold cash in special containers that protect cash with dye-stain technology that is activated when someone tries to break open the container. Once activated, the cash is stained with a green dye, thus defacing the notes, rendering them unusable as currency. The stained notes are recognised as having no monetary value once they are stained.

People who are in possession of these notes make themselves suspects of a criminal investigation that will seek to determine if they were involved in the stealing and unauthorised access of these ATM containers.
SABRIC has noticed an increase in the attempted circulation of dye-stained notes in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, following the destruction of multiple ATMs.

The people of South Africa are cautioned against accepting these dye-stained notes as legal tender as the onward use and value of these notes will not be honored.

SABRIC CEO Nischal Mewalall said: “You may also find yourself out of pocket after releasing goods or performing services because you will not be able to utilise the currency you were paid with. In addition, you also run the risk of being investigated, arrested, and prosecuted for the destruction of these ATMs.”

SABRIC therefore encourages people not to transact using dye-stained notes and report any person in possession of these notes to the South African Police Service on 0860 010 111.

SABRIC is a NPF company formed by South African banks to support the banking industry in the combating of crime. SABRIC’s clients are South African banks and major CIT companies. Its principle business is to detect, prevent and reduce organised crime in the banking industry through effective public private partnerships. SABRIC co-ordinates inter-bank activities aimed at addressing organised bank related financial crime, violent crime and cybercrime, and acts as a nodal point between the banking industry and others, in respect of issues relating to these crimes. The creation of public awareness of various bank related crimes and educating the public on how to protect themselves is one of SABRIC’s key focus areas. For more on SABRIC visit

    Last modified: July 23, 2021