Pretoria - Former president Nelson Mandela is excited about
the new banknotes bearing his image which went into circulation on Tuesday, SA
Reserve Bank (Sarb) governor Gill Marcus said in Pretoria.
"He is delighted, very excited about it. We did show
him the designs, the drafts and everything else," she said.
"This is our way to pay tribute to him. Madiba does
represent something special, not only in South Africa. He is really an
extraordinary human being."
Marcus made the first transaction with the new banknotes on
Tuesday morning at the Lynnwood Housewives' Market, east of Pretoria.
"As far as I am aware, yes (I am the first person using
the notes). How privileged am I?," she said, laughing.
The governor was mobbed by reporters and camera crews when
she went around the fruit and vegetable shop picking produce. She bought
packets of nuts, beetroot, a sliced melon and a cucumber for R159.99.
Marcus said the new banknotes would be available at banks
and automated teller machines later on Tuesday.
"We want to ensure that everyone is familiar with the
new notes, whether you are in rural or urban areas, because we don't want
anyone making a dummy of some kind," she said.
She said there were heightened security features on the new
notes to avoid counterfeiting.
"It's hard to replicate. You have to feel the raised
print, look for the watermark and if you tilt it you can see the moving
colours," she said.
In September, the SA Reserve Bank launched a national
campaign for the new range of banknotes honouring Mandela.
The bank said the range was themed "One of a kind"
and that the campaign was aimed at educating the public about the banknotes.
The new R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10 notes show Mandela's
face on the front, and the Big Five animals, which appear on the existing
notes, on the back.
Security features include watermarks, micro-printing, and
unique numbering. Raised printing was added to assist the visually impaired.
The new banknotes are the same size as the old notes, which
will remain legal tender.
Marcus said that as at December last year, banknotes to the
value of R100bn were circulating within the South African economy.