The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) has introduced upgraded banknotes and coins into the local market. Available from 4 May, the denominations will be introduced incrementally. The new-look series feature enhanced security features and some new designs. However, the broad themes for the banknotes remain the same while the theme for the coin is deep ecology.
Nelson Mandela of course still appears on the front of the banknotes, but in enhanced colour. The Big Five theme is maintained, but the animals now appear as a family on the back of each banknote. The watermark on each note also features an animal.
Talk Radio 702’s Bruce Whitfield talks to Sarb Deputy Governor Fundi Tshazibana, about the work involved in the project.
“For the coins in particular, it’s been an endeavour that’s included bringing in new designers to pick what the themes are going to be while sticking to the main core theme of our enviro-diversity, then getting the artists to do the work.”
“On the banknotes, it’s been about the security features, getting those authenticated, multiple testing, ensuring that you have the right materials in place, and bear in mind we have to do this alongside the usual production cycle of banknotes as well to make sure we have enough in stock.”
“We certainly don’t have as much of a forgery challenge in South Africa as do other African countries but, as the central bank, you can’t say you’re fully safe because criminality is always growing. You can’t wait for a problem to be widespread to do something about counterfeiting.”
“There is a cost to printing currency so you’ve got to weigh up the cost… We are satisfied that with the current materials we’re using we are keeping up with the technological advances.”