IN SHORT: South Africa’s highest value banknote is R200. But after the Reserve Bank announced it would be issuing redesigned currency, a rumour about a new R500 note started circulating on social media. But the rumour is false, and has been for 14 years.
This would be the first upgrade of the currency in over a decade.
“The upgraded banknotes and coin have enhanced security features and new designs. The broad themes for the upgraded banknotes remain the same as the current banknotes, while the theme for the coin is deep ecology,” the bank said.
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president, remains the main feature of the banknotes. The notes and coins also have improved “feel features” to help blind and partially sighted people tell the difference between denominations.
“New Mone in SA,” a Facebook user posted on 4 May, along with a screenshot of a tweet from the account @ReservebankSA. The tweet reads: “We introduce to you the first sample of our possible new Five hundred Rand note.”
The note shows zebras on the one side and a stylised map of South Africa on the other. The tweet was also posted on a Facebook group page.
Note designed for competition in 2008
“This is a bank note I designed for the SABNS competition,” his caption reads. He probably meant SARB.
The user also says: “You'll find if you search for South African bank notes that my design looks almost exactly like those in circulation. My R500 note was designed to fit the existing note line’s profile so that it could actually be put into circulation without it disrupting the flow of the already existing notes.”
In June 2022, the SARB took to its verified Twitter account to dismiss the tweet from @ReservebankSA.
Please note that this is a fake account and has been reported to Twitter. SA Reserve Bank is not planning to issue a R10 coin nor a R500 note. pic.twitter.com/wffcUwTDQa— SA Reserve Bank (@SAReserveBank) June 11, 2022
The @ReservebankSA account no longer exists.
In its May 2023 announcement, the SARB was clear that the existing banknote values – R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 – would remain the same.
It also posted a video explaining how the currency upgrade would work:
The bank has not announced any plans to print R500 notes.
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