Witsies,don’t talk to strangers, especially at the ATM

CONNED: Segun and the ATM trying to find his card Photo:Nokuthula Manyathi

CONNED: Segun at the ATM trying to find his card
Photo:Nokuthula Manyathi

On Monday evening, a Southdale man stopped off at the Braamfontein Centre to draw R50 for taxi fare. As he put his card into the machine, two men approached and told him the ATM didn’t work.

They are not smart. I am just a big fool
One of them told him to key in his cellphone number to make the machine work. “All of a sudden one of the two men was pressing buttons on the ATM, I turned around and they were quickly walking away.” Segun, who would not give his surname, tried to eject his card but nothing happened. Minutes later he received an SMS saying R1 620 had been withdrawn and that his available balance was R6.

“They are not smart. I am just a big fool,” he said, as he dialled a friend’s number with shaking hands. “All my money is gone. How am I going to get home? I am stranded.”He said he had decided to use the First National Bank ATM at Braamfontein Centre because he thought it would be safer than using the ATM on the street.

Ask us the securities, we won’t rob you.
Abigail Dube, a security guard at Braamfontein Centre, said people should stop asking for and accepting help from strangers. “Don’t talk to strangers…Ask us the securities, we won’t rob you.” Dube said students never asked for their help, but were “quick to cry ‘security’ when they were ripped- off. She said she could only help those who asked for help. “Money is confidential. We can only help if people ask us.”Ncane Bogosi, another security guard at Braamfontein Centre, said a few weeks ago a man lost more than R4 000 because he let a stranger “help” him. “They think we don’t know how to operate an ATM,” said Bogosi.

Other danger zones

Braamfontein Centre is not the only place where students should be alert. Shandukani Mulaudzi, a Wits Vuvuzela journalist, almost lost her money when she tried to withdraw money at the Standard Bank ATM just in front of The Grove in Melle Street. Mulaudzi arrived at the ATM to find a man “who looked like he just withdrew money”. He told her to stop saying the ATM wasn’t working. He grabbed the card from her hand.

“I kept watching his hands and it looked like he wanted to put it in his sleeve.” Mulaudzi confronted the man: “Hayibo, wenzani ?”A security guard then approached and the man got nervous. He gave her back her card and quickly walked away. Mulaudzi said students should be very alert and not accept help. “Don’t ever let anyone help you. Always trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, don’t use the ATM.”


Long walk to the ATMs

The Law Students Council [LSC] has started a petition drive to obtain as many signatures from students to get an ATM installed on West Campus.

The abrupt closure of the O-Village restaurant on West Campus earlier this year has not only left the campus quiet, but it has also deprived west campus students of an ATM.

Yusuf Peer, President of the Law Students Council (LSC) says they decided to start the petition drive after students from Commerce, Law and Management faculty and some staff members were unhappy with having to walk to the Matrix to use ATMs.

 Peer says, “It’s quite cumbersome on students having to rush to East Campus all the time particularly with purchasing from the shops and print. We just felt that it’s a huge inconvenience for us students to be rushing to East [Campus], especially with the limited time between lectures. We heard that Education Campus had this problem and the previous SRC managed to resolve [it], although there are legal problems there at the moment.”

Last year’s SRC held a hunger strike outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office (?) in a campaign for the installation of an ATM at the Education Campus, subsequent to which  an FNB ATM was installed at the Cafeteria on the Park town campus.

But earlier this year, the ATM was removed, allegedly because of legal complications surrounding the installation of the ATM there.

The current SRC is in full support of the LSC’s petition, although they admit management may be reluctant to consider the idea

“We think it’s necessary because if students feel they want an ATM and they’ve had it before then why should they not have one? “, said SRC Vice President Internal, Itumeleng Mafatshe.

She admitted the SRC is still working towards the re-installation of the Education campus ATM and they need to get the legal requirements  right so that they can ensure that  an ATM on West Campus will not be removed?

Getting the ATM approved by university management will be a challenge,- and the biggest obstacle, Mafatshe says, is identifying a suitable location for the proposed ATM on West Campus.

“We have  advised the [LSC] to, in line with their call for an ATM,  to suggest  that  O-village  be re-opened, as there was  an ATM there previously”, explains Mafatshe The LSC are distributing the petitions to classes on West Campus and the West Campus residences at the reception desks. Any students interested in signing the petition can visit the LSC office, number 2 at the School of Law,or contact LSC Grievances Officer, Klaas Mokgomole on 076 209 0192