New specimen notes

New banks notes which feature the face of former president Nelson Mandela will be in circulation later today (Tuesday, November 6).

Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus showcased the notes and spent them at the Lynnwood Housewives' Market, east of Pretoria.

 “We have to replace the entire series of the current notes in circulation.”

In December last year, the value of notes in circulation was R102 bn.

She says it will take a while for the new notes to completely replace the current ones.

“We will try to do it as quickly as possible, but the old notes will continue to being used over the next few months.”

Marcus says it took an average of five to seven years for a central bank to implement a change to its currency and enhance counterfeit measures.

The new security features in the new notes include improved watermarks, micro-printing, and unique numbering. Raised printing was added to assist the visually impaired.

The new R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 notes show Mandela's face on the front, and the big five animals, which appear on the existing notes, on the back. 

Managing director of Spark ATM Systems, Marc Sternberg says that the new banknotes are identical in size to the current notes in circulation and that they have been tested in ATM machines to ensure a fluent transition.

“There is great excitement and anticipation for the introduction of these new banknotes that honour a South African icon.”