South African Reserve Bank unveils new banknotes

South African Reserve Bank unveils new banknotes

South Africa has unveiled new banknotes and coins, in a major upgrade to its currency in more than a decade.

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) announced the changes on Wednesday, saying the move was meant to keep up with technology and prevent counterfeiting of the country’s currency.

The new notes, which will enter into circulation from Thursday, will retain the image of the former leader, Nelson Mandela.

Managing director of the SA Bank Note Company, Liziwe Mda, “The first thing South Africans will notice is the colour – the colour is more vibrant. We’ve maintained the portrait of Nelson Mandela.”

“We have maintained the Big 5 theme but this time, on the back of the banknote, you will see a family theme of the Big 5.”

Managing director of the SA Mint, Honey Mamabolo, said that the coins were changing as well.

The Central Bank noted that it added enhanced security features, a splash more colour and some new plants and animals to give the new notes some attractive features.

SA’s 11 official languages will also be represented on the various banknotes and coins including Africa’s so-called “Big Five” wild animals — rhino, elephant, lion, buffalo and leopard.

The SARB emphasized that South Africa had one of the lowest counterfeit rates in the world, with only an estimated three fake notes for every million banknotes produced.

The current banknotes and coins will continue to be accepted alongside the upgraded banknotes as legal tender.

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According to Fundi Tshazibana, a deputy governor of the Central Bank, the notes will also be distributed in Namibia, Eswatini, and Lesotho, which share a common currency with South Africa and consider the rand to be legal tender alongside their own currencies.

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