Pretoria — The Reserve Bank has launched a communication campaign to introduce the new Nelson Mandela bank notes which will come into circulation before the end of the year.
“We hope the new note will be something we all like to have. We are pleased to issue this new series of banknotes which reflect South Africa’s pride as a nation and pays tribute to a much loved world-icon,” said Governor Gill Marcus, adding that the launch was a momentous occasion.
The campaign is aimed at educating and raising public awareness of the new banknotes that features the image of South Africa’s first democratically elected president. The reverse side of each denomination features an image of one of the “big five” animals.
The theme of the campaign is “One of a kind”. The new notes which will be introduced at a later stage will include features such as unique numbering and micro printing.
Marcus stressed that the new notes as well as the old notes will continue to be legal tender.
Additionally, countries using South African currency will also be educated on the incoming new notes.
Asked about whether the new currency will be easy to counterfeit, the Governor said that counterfeiting still remained a global phenomenon and that the central bank was embarking on the communication campaign to educate the public on the security features of the new note so that they are familiar with it. She said it would be difficult to replicate the notes.
“A country’s currency is a fundamental component of its national identity. It should be a reflection of its cultural heritage,” she said, adding that it was decided not only to upgrade the security features (which best practice is to do every six to eight years) but also to redesign the notes.
“We hope it’s a design that stands the test of time,” she said. Many banknotes around the world have never been redesigned.
The central bank hopes to swap out the existing notes as soon as possible. “As we introduce the new note we will swap out the old note, it will take time,” she said, adding that the role of the bank is not only to produce notes and to circulate them but also to ensure that notes are fit for circulation.
The communication of the introduction of the new notes, which will be done to the tune of a total R32 million, will happen in both urban and rural areas and in diverse languages. Information about the notes will be done in print media, television, radio and social media platforms including road shows.
The bank has no plans to either introduce bigger denominations higher than the R200 note or introduce a R10 coin. Marcus said it was already sometimes difficult for people in rural areas to break up a R200 note.
Additionally, the new notes will have enhanced features for the visually impaired including raised print on both sides.
Hlengani Mathebula, head of group strategy and communications said that the training of people from banks has already commenced. The communication campaign is expected to continue into next year.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela, who was present at the launch of the communication campaign, said she was proud and thankful to the staff of the Reserve Bank.
The announcement of the former president’s appearance on new bank notes was made in February.
The Reserve Bank’s head office in Pretoria has been wrapped with a 25-storey billboard to create further public awareness of the new notes.
Meanwhile, as of December 2011 R100 billion banknotes were in circulation in the South African economy.