As president Jacob Zuma announced at the beginning of the year the newly designed banknote series was issued by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The banknotes‘ design reflect the pride of the South African nation and also the tribute paid to the first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela.
In principle South Africa has 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 notes, up till now featuring the „Big Five“ – rhino, elephant, lion, buffalo and leopard. On the front page of the newly designed series a portrait of former president Nelson Mandela is shown. On the reverse side the „Big Five“ are still represented. Further design features are the South African coat of arms printed on the front, the elven official languages as well as unique South African symbols such as San rock art. During the transition period the current as well as the new one remain legal tender.
The new series has the same size and colour as the old series of banknotes. Additionally, security features were incorporated through state-of-the-art technologies and designs. The security features are categorised in „see“, „feel“ and „tilt“. The „look“ features are the watermark, main motif, micro-printing, the unique numbering and the coat of arms. Security features such as intaglio or raised printing as well as rough surfaces belong to the category features „feel“. Those are intended to help visually impaired people. If the banknote is tilted, colour changes appear based on the colour-changing ink used. In addition, if hold horizontally to the eye, the hidden image of the denomination numeral appears. These security features aim to prevent counterfeiting.
The reasons for the newly issued banknotes lie, conferring to SARB, once more in the security area. According to best practice examples a change of banknote features every six to eight years is increasing the chance of preventing counterfeit. Concluding, banknotes represent the identity of a nation and reflect the cultural and historical development, both perfectly featured on the newly issued banknotes.