It might only be a football match away before a curious world public is confronted by these machines, but some South African banks are so sick of being ripped off, that they're fighting back - at the ATM.
It's not just a South African problem. ATM crime is at an all-time high worldwide; Romania, Ukraine and Russia serve as hot beds for the activity, as criminal organisations target our modern symbols of cash convenience.
ATMs are frequently unsecured and easily manipulated, particularly as they serve to stay open 24 hours a day.
But in a case of ATMs fighting back, this isn't science fiction or a scene out of the seminal 80s flick Robocop - it's the latest in ATM deterrents. The UK Guardian is reporting that when a card reader is tampered with at a dozen different South African ATMs, the machine will trigger a powerful pepper spray designed to blind the thieves and alert the authorities.
ATM Skimming practices are so rife across the world, that we're not surprised to see banks going down this path. Recent news reports suggest Australia is also not immune to ATM theft. ATMs are regularly compromised across Australian cities in major population areas.
One local study puts the cost of these ATM practices at more than $120m for Australia and this occurrence is rapidly on the rise.
Criminals have developed the fine art of recruiting false keyboards, pinhole cameras and attaching fake screens to machines, hardly giving the bank a chance to know that the money is missing before its too late.
But South Africa, known for its high crime rates - is not averse to using last-resort measures to ward off would-be attackers. In the late 1990's, a South African company made world headlines for being the first to claim that it could install optional rocket blasters to vehicles, that would blast a cannon of fire at would-be carjackers for under $US700 a piece. It was later deemed excessively dangerous and eventually illegal to install.
Unfortunately, like the car deterrent - the ATM defence system has also experienced some critical teething problems. Three ATM technicians were injured when the machine malfunctioned and sprayed the wrong people. All three needed medical attention at the scene of a local shopping mall, bringing the safety of the service into doubt.
If the deterrent trial is successful, the roll-out of pepper-spray enabled ATMs will commence nationwide in the lead up to the biggest sporting event on earth in 2010.