New Mandela bank notes have started circulation in through South Africaâ€™s ATMs and other channels, ahead of the planned July launch.
The notes wereÂ announced back in February, asÂ a commemoration to mark the 28th anniversary of the release from prison of former president Nelson Mandela, who would have been 100 years old this year.
The South African Reserve Bank has thus launched commemorative bank notes in honour of what would have been Mandelaâ€™s centenary. These new notes will cover all denominations â€“ R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 â€“ as well as a commemorative R5 coin.
The new notes depict the standard visage of Nelson Mandela on the one side, but instead of the â€˜the big fiveâ€™ animals on the reverse, it shows a younger Mandela with different iconic scenes related to his legacy.
Images of the new notes, which were expected to launch officially in July, have started circulating on social media.
Users ofÂ MyBroadbandâ€™s forumÂ have uploaded photos of the new R100 note. These can be seen below:
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the South African Reserve Bank said that the notes were not yet meant to be in circulation, as the launch was scheduled for July.
â€œAs part of the preparations for the launch, test packs of the commemorative banknotes were made available to members of the broader cash industry to allow them to make adequate preparations in relation to issues such as adaptions of cash processing and cash dispensing machines, ticketing machines and so forth,â€ the central bank said.
â€œWhile these test packs were governed by strict confidentiality provisions, it has come to the SARBâ€™s attention that certain breaches have occurred, and as a result some of the designs have been circulating on social media.â€
To avoid confusion and unnecessary speculation, the SARB decided to release all the designs ahead of the official launch scheduled for 13 July 2018.
The designs of these banknotes and coin are shown below.
More detailed information about the commemorative features of the notes and additional security features will be made available at the time of the official launch.
â€œIt is envisaged that these notes will be issued into circulation by 18 July 2018. These commemorative banknotes and R5 coin will co-circulate for a limited time, together with the current Mandela banknote series and the existing R5 coin, and both sets will remain legal tender,â€ the bank said.