New bank notes 'a fitting tribute'


IOL news feb11 new money

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Jacob Zuma holds a new South African bank note at the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

The new South African banknotes, bearing the image of Nelson Mandela, would make South Africans remember their achievements. These were the words of President Jacob Zuma at a press briefing attended by dignitaries including SA Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Saturday.

Zuma said the gesture was “a befitting tribute” to Mandela who was a symbol of the country's struggle for freedom, human rights and democracy.

“With this humble gesture, we are expressing our deep gratitude, as the South African people, to a life spent in service of the people of this country and in the cause of humanity worldwide,” Zuma said.

The banknotes would make South Africans remember and appreciate their achievements in order to continue the journey towards a more prosperous society, Zuma said.

Saturday marks the 22nd anniversary of Mandela's release from prison.

Marcus said the new notes would enter circulation later in the year. She said coins would not be affected at this stage.

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The new South African R50 bank note. Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

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The current banknotes, that feature the Big 5 animals, had been in circulation since 1992.

Marcus said officials consulted widely on the notes, speaking to a wide range of people including Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Gordhan said the new notes would “help South Africa to remember Mandela” and “institutionalise the memory of where we come from”.

Earlier on Saturday, German international news agency DPA reported lack of details about the nature of the announcement which briefly spooked markets.

The rand tumbled about 2.5 per cent versus the dollar.

“Traders worried that the central bank of Africa's largest economy was about to make a drastic policy or personnel change while markets were closed,” DPA said.

However, the Mail and Guardian cited sources suggesting the announcement would likely be of a celebratory nature and possibly related to Mandela.

Following reassuring remarks from bank officials, who indicated that the news would not be about interest rates or resignations, the rand made a quick rebound. -Sapa


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Zeff, wrote

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06:02pm on 11 February 2012
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The message to the populace is "Vote ANC, you owe it to them, it's your moral duty" This is good old fashioned emotional blackmail coming from a party who has failed on nearly all fronts.

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John Alues, wrote

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06:01pm on 11 February 2012
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Am happy to see Papa Madiba face on the currency but R50 is just too low. Think of it, who will at any time now or in the future do more, go higher, pay a peace price for SA that what Madiba has done. This is about merit. I vote for R200, the bank note that is wort printing Madiba's face on.

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Mahmood, wrote

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05:59pm on 11 February 2012
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Stick to the BIG 5. their is nutrality in the use of animals rather than big headed politicians. personally i have no problem with Mandela's face but i would hate to see the likes of Zuma and God forbid malema's mug on my hard earned money.and in future we will have some stupid dictators face on the notes. it is enough that we see portraits of all these MPs and councillors all over.

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Anon Ymous, wrote

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05:51pm on 11 February 2012
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ANC Government - ANC Money

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