31 October 2012
South Africa’s new banknotes, featuring an image of former president Nelson Mandela on the front and images of the country’s “Big Five” wild animals on the reverse, will go into circulation on Tuesday, 6 November.
Making the announcement in Pretoria on Tuesday, Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus said South Africa’s currency was “a unique symbol of our nationhood, with many of us handling banknotes every day. The Reserve Bank is proud to be able to honour South Africa’s struggle icon and first democratically elected president in this way.”
The new notes will also have upgraded, state-of-the-art security features, as well as enhanced features for the visually impaired, including raised print on both sides.
They will have the same R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 denominations. Marcus said last month that the Bank had no plans to introduce higher denominations, noting that people in the country’s rural areas often struggled to break up a R200 note.
The old notes will continue to be legal tender for as long as they remain in circulation, as the Reserve Bank gradually swaps them out.
The Bank has been running an extensive awareness campaign ahead of the launch, giving South Africans, commercial banks and the retail industry plenty of opportunity to familiarise themselves with the features of the new notes.
Adverts across all types of media, public outreach events and roadshows have extended countrywide and across the borders to common monetary areas such as Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe.