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Pretoria - Water marks, UV light, tilting bars and latent images are some of the major security features on the new Mandela banknotes that will start circulating in the country by the end of the year.
The notes, which have been redesigned, will also be printed on a stronger paper to ensure a longer duration in circulation.
The notes feature the face of icon Nelson Mandela on the one side and the Big Five on the other.
When the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) launched the communication and awareness campaign on Wednesday it spelt out that it had put in everything to discourage counterfeits.
The range is themed “One of a kind” and has R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10 notes.The first phase of the R32 million campaign had already started.
“We are already training banks and others in the cash handling industry how to identify and verify their authenticity,” the bank’s head of communications Hlengani Mathebula said.
“We intend to introduce the notes into circulation by the end of this year,” SARB governor Gill Marcus said.
The notes would circulate side by side with the existing ones.
“There is about R100 billion worth of currency in circulation at the moment, so phasing that out could take any amount of time,” she said.
Marcus said both the new and existing notes would remain legal tender until the withdrawal process was complete.
“Our currency is in co-circulation in other countries in the region so the swop could take a while.”
The campaign involved visiting those countries that used SA bank notes, and it would also be taken into the remote rural areas for awareness.
The security features on the new series of notes would be identified with the look, feel an tilt approach.
The watermark - including Mandela’s face and a see-through feature on the animal - can be seen when the note is held up to light.
For the “look” feature, there is micro text of the denomination on the animals that can be seen under a magnifying glass.
The unique serial numbers, consisting of letters and numbers, can also be seen under UV lighting, as can a variety of animals and people figures. The “feel” feature incorporates raised features on the banknotes.
These include the denomination numeral, the main motif on the front and lines for the visually impaired - one for the R10 note, two for the R20, three for the R50, four for the R100 and five on the R200 note. When tilted, the denomination changes colour. The R50, R100 and R200 notes all have a colour shift that can only be observed when the notes are tilted.
“A country’s currency is a fundamental component of its national identity. It should be a reflection of its culture and heritage and the country’s banknotes have reflected aspects of its culture and heritage since the inception of the SA rand in 1961,” said Marcus.
The communication campaign will run until March but the awareness campaign will be ongoing with people at taxi ranks, pension pay-points and spaza shops being familiarised with the notes.