The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has introduced upgraded banknotes and coin into the South African market with effect from 4 May 2023. The denominations will be introduced incrementally. The upgraded banknotes and coin have enhanced security features and new designs; however, the broad themes for the upgraded banknotes remain the same as the current banknotes, while the theme for the coin is deep ecology.
The banknotes continue to pay tribute to South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, with his portrait retained on the front of the banknotes while the Big 5 animals are now illustrated as a family on the back. The preamble to the South African Constitution is printed in microtext around Madiba’s portrait and the country’s flag featured on the front and the back of the banknotes. The theme of the coin series is deep ecology, which acknowledges the interconnectedness of living organisms as an integral part of the environment. These themes are depicted by our fauna and flora on the coin.
Banknotes and coin are regularly upgraded in line with international best practice to combat counterfeiting and to stay abreast with technological advancements. In general, banknotes are refreshed in intervals of 6 to 8 years and coin in intervals of 20 to 30 years. In South Africa, the current Mandela banknote series was issued in 2012 and a commemorative series of banknotes was issued in 2018. The current coin series was issued in 1989.
The SARB does not demonetise its currency. All previously issued circulation banknotes and coin can be used as a means of trade together with the upgraded banknotes and coin. All circulation currency maintains its face value.