Africa Check FRIDAY FUN: Can you take away R600k in a plastic bag?

Would you need a suitcase or is a plastic carrier bag big enough to fit R600,000 in cash?

Few revelations in South Africa’s explosive State Capture report elicited as much discussion as the  R600,000 bribe in cash deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas was allegedly offered.

The report details: “As Mr Jonas was walking towards the door, Mr A. Gupta made a further offer of R600 million to be deposited in an account of his choice. He asked if Mr Jonas had a bag which he could use to receive and carry R600,000 in cash immediately, which he declined.”

With R600,000 you can buy a one bedroom apartment in Parktown, about 5 km from Saxonwold, or fly first class to Dubai nine times and back.

So just how big a bag do you need for this kind of money?

The SaxonwoldShebeen Twitter profile says: “Bring your own suitcase.” Twitter user Richard de Nooy claims three plastic bags full will do the trick.

Assuming that the highest denomination of South African rands was used, we worked out how tall a R600,000 stack of R200 notes would be. The answer – 36 cm, or about as tall as a computer screen.

So, if you divide R600,000 into stacks of R100,000 each, it would fit nicely into a plastic carrier bag. (A Woolworths one, of course. We’re talking Saxonwold here.)

See, we tested it. Check out the (improvised) evidence.

(Note: We tried to do this fact-check scientifically, but the Reserve Bank would not divulge the thickness of South Africa’s bank notes “for security reasons”, Charlotte Visagie in the bank’s currency management department told Africa Check.)

Fact-checking can be fun!
Send us a suggestion of something less serious to fact-check on Fridays & we’ll try to give it go.

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