New banknotes have Nelson Mandela's face

2012-02-11 15:21
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Bank notes to bear Mandela's image

President Jacob Zuma announced that new bank notes will bear the image of former president Nelson Mandela. His image will replace the current design featuring the Big Five animals.

Pretoria - New South African bank notes will bear the image of former president Nelson Mandela, President Jacob Zuma announced in Pretoria on Saturday.

The notes would make South Africans remember their achievements, Zuma told reporters at a function also attended by SA Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Saturday marks the 22nd anniversary of Mandela's release from prison.

Marcus said officials consulted widely on the notes, speaking to a wide range of people including Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Zuma said the notes were still being produced.

Earlier on Saturday, German international news agency DPA reported lack of details about the nature of the announcement briefly spooked markets.

The rand tumbled about 2.5% versus the dollar.

"Traders worried that the central bank of Africa's largest economy was about to make a drastic policy or personnel change while markets were closed," DPA said.

However, the Mail and Guardian cited sources as suggesting the announcement would likely be of a celebratory nature and possibly related to Mandela.

Following reassuring remarks from bank officials, who indicated that the news would not be about interest rates or resignations, the rand made a quick rebound.

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