SARB celebrates 100 years after issuing of first banknote

19th April 2022 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

SARB celebrates 100 years after issuing of first banknote

South African currency
Photo by: Marleny Arnoldi

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) says Tuesday, April 19, 2022 marks 100 years since it issued its first banknotes.

The banknotes were issued ten months after the SARB was established on June 30, 1921. Prior to that, South Africa had no monetary authority; however, commercial banks were responsible for issuing banknotes into circulation.

From April 19, 1922, the SARB was granted the sole authority to produce, issue and destroy South African currency and it is entrusted with ensuring the availability and integrity of the South African currency.

“The SARB has invested significantly in the currency’s design and security features to protect the public from counterfeiting and our banknotes are highly regarded globally. The security features embedded in South Africa's currency represent the most innovative advancements in global design and technology,” the central bank says.

“For South Africa, its currency is a symbol of national pride and reflects the country’s cultural heritage, economic industries and the Big Five animals.”

In 1961, the rand replaced the South African pound. The rand takes its name from the Witwatersrand (white waters’ ridge), where most of South Africa's gold deposits were found in Johannesburg.

“From time to time, the SARB issues banknotes and coin to commemorate key events or milestones in the country. In 2018, the SARB was the first central bank to issue commemorative banknotes on all five denominations. These commemorative banknotes and coin are placed into circulation for everyday use and maintain their face value,” SARB says.