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New SA banknotes features Nelson Mandela

by SABC | Ndou Paul
05 Sep 2012 at 11:53hrs | Views

The South African Reserve bank Governor, Gill Marcus, today said South Africa's currency should be a reflection of its culture and heritage.

"South Africa's banknotes have reflected aspects of its culture and heritage since the inception of the South African rand in 1961," said Marcus in her speech at the launch of the media campaign of the Nelson Mandela bank notes in Pretoria.

She added: "In earlier days, South African banknotes featured such diverse images as that of Jan van Riebeeck, and later the 'Big Five'. What will surely become known as the 'Mandela banknote series' reflects South Africa's pride as a nation and pays tribute to a much-loved world icon."

The front of the new banknotes will feature the image of South Africa's first democratically elected President Mandela. The reverse side of each denomination features an image of one of the 'big five' animals. "The new notes have the same denominations, sizes and colours as the existing series, which was adopted twenty years ago," said Marcus.

She also emphasized that the current notes remain legal tender and are of equal value to the new note. "So whether you have the existing R200 note or a R200 Mandela note, they are both worth the same."

The SARB plans to introduce into circulation the new notes before the end of this year. "The date on which these notes will be available and co-circulate with the current note for a while will be made public in due course."

Brief history of SA banknotes:

 -About 230 years ago the Dutch Governor Joachim van Plettenberg first introduced paper money in the Cape. All the notes had to be handwritten because there was no printing press in the Cape.

 -The money featured a government fiscal hand stamp that showed the value of the money and the authority date of the issue.

 -It was only in 1803 that notes were printed, but they still bore the fiscal hand stamp. The early currency, including the rix dollar and stiver denominations, layed a significant role in the early economic development of our country. South Africa later sed the British pound sterling as its currency until 1961, when the rand was introduced.

 -The big five' theme was adopted after the unbanning of political parties and the release of political prisoners, reflecting what was considered as a design that would be acceptable to all South Africans.

 -The currency was last upgraded in 2005 when enhanced security features on the 'Big Five' banknote series were added.

 -Internationally, it is regarded as best practice for central banks to upgrade the security features of their banknotes every six to eight years. This is to combat counterfeiting, which diminishes the value of real money, robs countries worldwide of billions of rand annually, and tarnishes the credibility of a currency, thereby impacting on the growth of that economy.

Source - SABC