Madiba gets the nod for notes

2012-09-08 11:19

Future heads of state should not expect that they too will have their faces gracing the nation’s bank notes now that former president Nelson Mandela’s is.

Hlengani Mathebula, the head of group strategy and communications at the South African Reserve Bank, said: “The Reserve Bank has not set any precedence.

“Madiba did not ask to be put on the currency nor were there discussions held to start printing money featuring presidents.”

The new notes, which is scheduled for release before the end of the year, will feature an image of Mandela and the nation’s coat of arms on the front.

The reverse sides of each note – R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 – will bear an image of each of South Africa’s “big five” wild animals.

The new currency is by far the most sophisticated South Africa has ever produced in terms of its security and design features.

Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus said due to the advancement in technology, the bank had decided to release a new series of notes – to prevent them from being counterfeited.

“One of the responsibilities of the South African Reserve Bank it to protect the value and integrity of the South African currency,” Marcus said.

A key way of doing this, she added, is adhering to upgrading the nation’s money every six to eight years.

This is regarded as best practice among central banks globally.

South Africa last upgraded its currency in 2005.

Security features of the new notes include the watermark, unique numbering, raised printing, colour changing ink and a hidden image.

The paper on which the new bank notes have been printed is also unique.

The notes will have a distinctive sound when snapped between the fingers.

Mathebula explained that the existing currency will remain legal tender even after the release of the new notes.

The Reserve Bank, however, intends to gradually withdraw the former from circulation.

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