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Sunday, 28 April 2013

96) Currency of South Africa and the Common Monetary Area between South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho: the Rand and Cents:



96) Currency of South Africa and the Common Monetary Area between South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho: the Rand and Cents:

The Rand is the legal tender and official currency of South Africa, introduced in 1961. It is also, the Currency of the Common Monetary Area (CMA) between South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho, and it derives its name from “Witwatersrand” (meaning “White-waters-ridge”) which is the ridge on which Johannesburg has been settled. It is also the place where most of South Africa’s gold deposits were there. In Afrikaans, it is known as the “Suid Afrikaanse Rand” and in Dutch “Zuid-Africaanse Rand”.

The Rand is also an accepted currency in Namibia (present currency: Namibian dollar), which was earlier a part of the Common Monetary Area but later withdrew from the CMA. The currency, although not officially recognised is also accepted in Swazi lilangeni and Zimbabwe.

The Rand is sub-divided into 100 cents. It is presently available in Banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Rand denominations. It is also available in 9 denominations of coins in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, as well as, 1, 2 and 5 Rand denominations.

Historical Development of currency in South Africa:

The San people were the first Settlers in South Africa, followed by the Khoikhoi and bantu-speaking tribes.

In 1652, the Dutch East India Company (VOC - "Veerinigde Oost Indische Compagnie") established settlements on the Cape of Good Hope. Known as Boers or Afrikaners and speaking a Dutch dialect, known as Africaans, the settlers in the late 1700s tried to establish an independent Republic.

In 1782, bank notes/paper money was introduced in the Cape, because sufficient quantity of coins could not be shipped from the Netherlands, for South African territories under Dutch domination. These notes were issued in rixdollar and stiver denominations which was the prevailing currency in the Cape at that time.

In 1793, the Lombaard Bank was established in the Cape which a State was owned Bank primarily opened for the purpose of keeping a sufficient amount of Government Bank notes available for circulation

Until 1803, all issued currency/bank notes were hand-written, in the absence of Note printing presses in the Cape. The hall-mark of these notes was a Government fiscal hand stamp indicating their value and the authority date of the issue. 

After 1803, all bank notes issued were printed ones, but, simultaneously they circulated with the fiscal hand stamp notes during the switch-over period.

By 1815, Britain took permanent possession of the Cape Colony at the end of Napoleonic Wars, bringing in several thousands of settlers.

In 1833, the freeing of slaves and British domination, drove about 12000 Afrikaners North and East into African Tribal territories, where they established the Republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

In 1837, the first Private Bank in South Africa, the “Cape of Good Hope Bank” was opened.

In 1867, the discovery of diamonds and in 1876, the discovery of gold mines, led to more Britishers settling in  South African colonies, leading to a greater demand for paper currency.

In the 1860s a number of Banks were having paper currency printed locally. The maximum number of Bank notes were printed by a local Cape Town printing firm – Soul Solomon & Co using local banknote blank forms. By the 1870s, banknote forms were being imported from England.

In 1883, the Lombaard Bank closed down as it was faced with stiff competition from Private Banks which had mushroomed by this time (between 1837 and 1882, it is estimated that at least 30 Private Banks were in existence in South Africa, with most of them issuing their own paper currency either in one or several denominations. In addition three large Trading Houses and a mining firm were issuing their own paper currency during 1850 and 1860. In 1877, a British Imperial Bank, the “Standard Bank of British South Africa Ltd” was, also, established in Cape Town).

By 1892, two other large British Imperial Banks , established after 1877, had opened several branches all over South Africa and the lesser Private Banks had no alternative but to merge with these powerful Banks, except the “Stellenbosch District Bank”, (established in 1882), which is still in operation – present day.

By 1910, the three Imperial Banks were issuing paper money in their own names in the Cape Town. An interesting feature was that, while most of the Bank Notes were issued/printed locally, the notes issued by the Imperial Banks were printed in England.

In 1961, the newly created Republic of South Africa (RSA) changed its currency from pound sterling to Rand and cents, replacing the Pound Sterling with the new currency at an exchange rate of 2 Rand per Pound. The monetary system of South Africa is decimal based.


By 1962, a Bank note printing establishment was set up by the Republic of South Africa (RSA) which takes care of the requirements of the South African Reserve Bank. 

The first transitionary series of Rand Banknotes was introduced in 1961 in the denominations of 1, 2, 10 and 20 Rand all having similar designs to the earlier Pound Notes so as to enable a smooth transition. These Notes contained two variations in the placement of the two languages used on the Banknotes, in some English preceded Afrikaans and in the others the two languages were placed vice versa. These Banknotes contained the face of Van Riebeeck, the first European administrator of the Cape.

The second transitionary series of Rand Banknotes was introduced in 1966, where the two languages were used in the same manner as the 1961 issues. This Series also included the portrait of Jan Van Riebeeck.

The South African Reserve Bank is the Central Bank of South Africa and is tasked with the sole right to issue  Banknotes and coins as one of its primary responsibilities.

Bank Notes/Currency Notes:

The First series of Banknotes introduced in 1970 is called the “Jan van Riebeeck” Series, named after the first V.O.C. Administrator of Cape Town. The languages used on these Banknotes were English and Afrikaana.

The 2 Rand Banknote was blue in colour and on the Front had “Jan Van Riebeeck and infrastructure” and “Mining” on the Back.

The 5 Rand Banknote was maroon in colour and had “Jan Van Riebeeck and diamonds” on the Front and “Mining” on the Back.

The 10 Rand Banknote was green in colour and had “Jan Van Riebeeck and the protea” on the Front and “Agriculture” on the Back.

The 20 Rand Banknote was brown in colour and had “Jan Van Riebeeck and Groot Constantia” on the Front and “Jan Van Riebeeck’s landing party and the South African Coat of Arms” on the Back.

The 50 Rand Banknote was red in colour had “Jan Van Riebeeck and a Lion” on the Front and “Natural environment” on the Back.

The Second series of Banknotes, introduced in 1992 is called the “Big Five Series”.In this series of South African Bank notes the “big five” or “five prominent animals” found in South Africa, are printed on the Front of their currency Notes. The languages used are again English and Afrikaana.

The 2 and 5 Rand Banknotes was dropped from this Series and 100 and 200 Rand Banknotes were introduced in this Series.

The 10 Rand Banknote was green in colour and had “Rhinoceros” on the Front



On the Back of the 10 Rand Banknote the theme is  “Agriculture”. Also, mentioned is  "Suid - Afrikaamse Reserwebank" on top and "Libhangi lesiLulu leNingizimu Afrika".


 The 20 Rand Banknote was brown in colour and had “Elephants” on the Front

 On the back of the 20 Rand Banknote “mining” has been depicted. On the top of the Note is mentioned "Banka - kgolo ya Aforika Borwa". On the bottom is mentioned "Ibulungelo - mali eliKhulu leSewula Afrika".

The 50 Rand Banknote was red in colour and had “Lions” on the Front and “Manufacturing” on the Back.

The 100 Rand Banknotes were blue in colour and had “Cape buffaloes” on the Front and “Tourism” on the Back.

The 200 Rand Banknotes were orange in colour and had “Leopards” on the Front and “Transportation and Communication” on the Back.

The Third series of Banknotes introduced in 2005 is called the “English and other official languages issue”.
This Series of Banknotes had similar images on the Front and Back, as in the 1992 Series, but it had different combinations of the various official languages of South Africa (English, Setswana, Sepedi/Sesotho, Afrikaana, isiXhosa, isiZulu, isiNdebele, Tshivenda, siSwati and Xitsonga) in different combinations of three languages on different denominations of Banknotes, with English being the common language to every denomination of Banknote.
The 2005 Series introduced the colour shifting ink on the 50 Rand and above denominations as well as the “Eurion Constellation”.

In 2010, the South African Reserve Bank withdrew all the Second Series 200 Rand Banknotes due to detection of several high quality counterfeit Banknotes in circulation.

The Fourth series of Banknotes introduced in 2012 is called the “Nelson Mandela Series”.

In this Series introduced on 06.11.2012, Nelson Mandela figures on the Front of all denominations of Banknotes. 


The Front of a 10 Rand Banknote showing Nelson Mandela. The Note is green in colour. Languages used on this Note are English, Afrikaana and siSwati. The size of this Note is 128mm x 70mm.


The Back of the 10 Rand Banknote showing an image of a pair of Rhinoceroses. On top of the Note is mentioned "Suid - Afrikaanse Reserwebank". On the bottom is mentioned "Libhangesilulu Leningizimu Africa". In the background small images of antelopes running are shown.

 
The Front of a 20 Rand Banknote showing Nelson Mandela. The Note is green in colour. Languages used on this Note are English, isiNdebele and Setswana. The size of this Note is 134mm x 70mm.

  
The Back of a 20 Rand Banknote showing a “pair of elephants” and “hunters chasing antelopes with bows and arrows”. On the top is mentioned "Bankakgolo Ya Aforikaborwa" and on the bottom is mentioned "Ibulungelo - Mali EliKhulu Lesewula Afrika". 

The Front of a 50 Rand Banknote showing an image of Nelson Mandela. This Note is Red in colour. The languages represented on this Note are English, Tshivenda, and isiXhosa. The size of this Note is 140 mm x 70 mm.




The Back of a 50 Rand Banknote showing “Lions” and “hunters chasing antelopes with bows and arrows”.
  The Front of a 100 Rand Banknote showing an image of Nelson Mandela. This Note is blue in colour. The languages represented on this Note are English, Sesotho, and Xitsonga. The size of this Note is 146 mm x 70 mm.
The Back of a 100 Rand Banknote showing “Cape Buffaloes” and hunters fishing in boats on water with spears. On the top of the Note is mentioned "Panka Ya Resefe Ya Afrika Borwa" and at the bottom is mentioned  "Banginkulu Ya Afrika - Dzonga".
The Front of a 200 Rand Banknote shows an image of Nelson Mandela. This Note is Orange in colour. The languages used on this Note are English, Sesotho and isiZulu. The size of the Note is 152 mm x 70 mm.

The Back of a 200 Rand Banknote shows “Leopards”.

Coinage:

11 South African official languages are used by rotation on South African coins since 1996 through the representation of the word “South Africa” in one of the official languages. On the issues during the few years, the languages used are English, Setswana, Sepedi/Sesotho, Afrikaana, isiXhosa, isiZulu, isiNdebele, Tshivenda, siSwati and Xitsonga.

The “Oom Paul” is one of the World’s oldest working coin presses in the South African mint and is used to mint special editions of coins, as and when required.

1 Cent:

From 1923 to 1960, two sparrows on a mimosa branch were depicted on a farthing. From 1961 to 1964 this design was depicted on a ½ cent coin.

Later, from 1965 to 1990, under the second decimal series, a revised design figured on the one cent coin.

From 1991 to 2002, under the third decimal Series another design showing the Cape sparrow, “Passer Melaniurus” has been depicted on the one cent coin.

Production of the one cent coin has been stopped from 2002 onwards because of prohibitive costs of minting coins of this denomination, however, it has not been withdrawn from circulation and remains legal tender.

2 cents:

The Fish Eagle, “Haliaetus Vocifer”, is portrayed on the reverse of the two cents coin. Since 2002, the production of the two cent coin has been stopped from 2002 onwards because of prohibitive costs of minting coins of this denomination, however, it has not been withdrawn from circulation and remains legal tender.

Facts about the Fish Eagle: The Fish Eagle (Haliaetus Vocifer) is 70 cm long in size (the females being slightly larger than the males) and is found South of the Sahara down to the Southern Cape in areas with suitable habitat viz., rivers, dams and estuaries. The birds have a white head, breast and mantle, black back and wings and chestnut belly. The immature bird is brown, slowly taking up the adult colours as it grows up.
 We even found one in the Mole National Park, Northern Region Ghana near a watering Hole during our visit to Ghana and while canoeing up the Mole River, in February 2013. The maximum population of the Fish Eagle is found along the Chobe River and in the Okavango Delta.

5 Cents:

The Blue Crane “Anthropoides Paradisea”, the National Bird of South Africa has figured on the reverse of the 5 cents coin from 1965 to 1990, under the Second Decimal Series and, in a revised design, from 1991 onwards, under the third decimal Series. 

              Obverse and reverse of a five cents coin issued in 1968

 The specifications of the coins being minted presently are: Diameter: 21 mm; Weight: 4.5 gms; Metal Composition: Copper-plated Steel.

Facts about the Blue Crane: It is confined mostly to South Africa. Each bird is about 105 cm tall and both sexes are identical. They have large heads with dark brown irises and a pink bill. They are found throughout the large Savannah areas of South Africa, mostly near water bodies. Nesting pairs mate for life and they use the same nesting sites every year.

10 Cents:

The Arum Lily “Zanthedeschia” a distinguished South African Flower has figured on the 10 cent coin since 1989, under the third decimal Series (earlier it was engraved on the 50 cents coin from 1965 to 1989, under the second decimal Series).

The specifications of the coin are: Diameter: 16 mm; Weight: 2 gms; Metal Composition: Bronze-plated Steel.

Facts about the Arum Lily: It is also known as the white calla lily, “aronskelk” or “varkblom” (pig lily – so called because pigs and porcupines eat its nutritious stalk). It also has medicinal properties. This lily can be evergreen or deciduous depending on the water conditions where it grows. The spathe (flower) varies in colour from white to cream and a green and white variation which is found in semi-shaded areas.

20 cents:

The South African flower, the “Protea cynaroida” (earlier depicted on the tickey and six-pence coins from 1925 to 1960 was engraved on the 2 ½ cents and 5 cents coins from 1961-1964 in the first decimal series.

In the second decimal series, the design with a Protea plant with three flowers in various stages of bloom was depicted on the 20 cents nickel coin from 1965-1989.

In the third decimal coin series introduced in 1989, the Protea was retained with a new design.

The specifications of the present coin are: Metal composition: Bronze-plated steel; Diameter: 19 mm; weight: 3.5 gms.

Facts about the “Protea cynaroida”: This flower is one of the first distinctive South African symbols that appeared on the tickey and sixpence coins from 1925-1960.

50 cents:

In the second decimal Series, the “Strelitzia” or “Crane flower” or “Bird of Paradise flower” was introduced on the 50 cents coin. Representing the National flag, this flower design was also continued in the third and current coin series.

The specifications of the present coin are: Metal composition: Bronze-plated steel; Diameter: 22 mm; weight: 5.0 gms.

Facts about the “Sterilitzia Reginae”: The Strelitzia is found in the valleys of Zululand near the Sea. Its flowers which are brilliant orange and blue are thought to have been brought to Africa from England in the 18th century. The Strelitzia is also the civic emblem of the US city of Los Angeles.

Commemorative 50 cent coins:

In 2002, to commemorate South Africa’s participation in the Soccer World Cup in Korea, 50 cent coins were issued featuring “Soccer” with a player dribbling the ball engraved on the reverse.

In 2003, in honour of South Africa’s hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup, 50 cent coins with “Cricket” as the theme (a player about to catch the ball) were minted and circulated.

One Rand (R1):

The Springbok (buck) appears on the one-rand coins from 1967 onwards. The first springbok coins were silver coins minted in 1947. Later the Springbok design was engraved on the gold one pound and half pound coins and still later on the gold one Rand (R1) and two Rand (R2) coins. The prancing buck was also placed on the Krugerrand from 1967 till date.

From 1977 to 1990, One Rand coins were minted in nickel with the springbok on the reverse.

From 1989 onwards (current series) the springbok design was continued.

The specifications of the present coin are: Metal composition: Nickel-plated copper; Diameter: 20 mm; weight: 4.0 gms.




The obverse image of a one Rand (R1) coin from my collection. I happened to remember that it has been lying in my “shoe-box” collection for the past several years.  The design shows the National emblem of South Africa, with the country name “South Africa” (mentioned in English) on the left periphery and “Suid Afrika” (mentioned in Afrikaana) on the right periphery. Below the emblem are the year of issue “1995” and the initials of the Die-sinker A.L. Sutherland “ALS.”




The reverse image of the above one Rand coin showing a sprinting springbok. On the top is the denomination of the coin “one Rand” and below the springbok image is the motto in Latin “SOLI DEO GLORIA” (To God alone the Glory). Below the motto, is a grassy tuft under which are engraved the initials of the coin designer L. Lotriet “LL.”

Two Rands (R2):

Two Rand coins were introduced as part of the third decimal Series. The Kudu or “King of the Antelopes was chosen for the reverse design, because of its magnificent horns.

The specifications of the present coin are: Metal composition: Nickel-plated copper; Diameter: 23 mm; weight: 5.5 gms.

Five Rands (R5):

The Black Wildebeest or Gnu is depicted on the reverse of the five Rand coins.

Five Rand coins were minted for the first time in 1994 with two designs being issued in that year – one, the Presidential inauguration commemoration and the second design showing the Gnu.

On 01.08.2004, South Africa’s first bi-metallic coin was issued in the R5 denomination.

An interesting feature for collectors are the year 2000 issues, came with three different obverse designs – The “old “ coat of arms at the beginning of the year, the new coat of Arms later on figured on the first bi-metallic coin  and a third design depicting the outgoing President Nelson Mandela.
The bimetallic R5 coin is similar to the 1, 2 Euro coins. 10 Rs. coin India, Thai 10 Baht coin, the Canadian $2 coin and the British 2 pound coin.

The specifications of the R5 coin are:

a)   R5 with “old” Wildebeest design: Metal composition: Nickel-plated copper; Diameter: 26 mm; weight: 7.0 gms.

b)   R5 with “new” Wildebeest design: Metal composition: Bi-metallic; Diameter: 26 mm; weight: 9.0 gms.

(Both coins are legal tender).

Facts about the Black Wildebeest or Gnu:  The Gnu is found in the Northern grassveld regions of the Cape Province, throughout the Orange Free State to KwaZulu-Natal and the southern regions of Gauteng.

The Current Series has been printed using the most advanced technological and security features, making it difficult for counterfeiters to duplicate these notes.

(The 10 and 20 Rand Notes of the 1990/1992 Series are from the collection of Ajit George, the 2012 Nelson Mandela Note series are from the collection of Jayant Biswas. The one Rand coin from 1995 is from my collection while the 5 cents coin from 1968 is from the collection of Mr. Rajendrasinh Mohite. Article researched and written and Notes/coins scanned by Rajeev Prasad)

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