The SA Reserve Bank launched a national campaign on Wednesday on a new range of banknotes honouring former president Nelson Mandela.
It said the range was themed “One of a kind” and that the campaign was aimed at educating the public about the banknotes, which would enter circulation before the end of the year.
The new R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10 notes would show Mandela's face on the front, and the Big Five animals, which appear on the existing notes, on the back.
Security features would include watermarks, micro-printing, and unique numbering. There would be raised printing for the visually impaired.
The new banknotes would be the same size as those already in circulation to avoid confusing the visually impaired.
“We are pleased to issue this new series of banknotes which reflects South Africa's pride as a nation and pays tribute to a much-loved world icon,” SARB governor Gill Marcus said at the bank's head office in Pretoria.
She said the campaign had already started in other countries on the continent which used the South African rand. These included Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania.
The banknotes already in circulation remained a legal tender and were of equal value to the one to be introduced.
Marcus said that as at December last year, R100 billion of banknotes were circulating within the South African economy.
She said it was regarded as a best practice internationally 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,” she said.
“We've done our best to ensure that they cannot be replicated.”
The campaign would end in March.
“We are very thankful for the recognition of Tata [Mandela] in this manner,” said Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who attended the launch.
“We think it is the best birthday present he ever received on his 94th birthday.” - Sapa