The Bank of Namibia (BoN) has warned that consumers should take note of new security features introduced into South African bank notes by that country’s reserve bank.
According to BoN spokesman Ndangi Katoma, the new features are dominated by the addition of dots to the front and back of the ‘Mandela’ bank notes, as the currency featuring founding president Nelson Mandela’s face is commonly known. The changes were announced as part of a refresher campaign launched by that central bank, marking 12 months since the introduction of the notes. He encouraged Namibian consumers to visit the South African central bank website for more information, and to make the ‘look, feel, tilt’ authenticity check for bank notes a habit.
South African bank notes have been legal currency in Namibia since before independence and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Katoma pointed out that not only is Namibia compensated for this, but the practice also makes trade with the country’s biggest trading partner easier. The arrangement is also in line with a bilateral agreement signed between the two countries, and the stipulations of the Common Monetary Area (CMA), to which Namibia is committed.
Meanwhile, new Namibian N$10 and N$20 bank notes introduced on 17 June have also now been improved, after three months of comprehensive testing done by private companies, Katoma explained. With these notes two main problems were identified, specifically the rapid aging of the notes and the tendency of the diamond-shaped security feature to crack. Katoma explained that both these issues have been addressed, with the diamond shape having been moved off the central fold on the money and towards the left. “As a central bank we continue to constantly monitor the quality of our currency,” he said.
Regarding the problem of counterfeiting Namibian money, Katoma set minds at ease pointing out that the country experiences a very low rate of this type of crime. Despite international benchmark of 50 counterfeit units per million in all denominations, Namibia boasts only six units per million in all denominations, Katoma said. He added that the bank continues to engage and train law- enforcement agencies to ensure this type of crime does not escalate in Namibia, as well as to train bank tellers and people who work with cash to determine cases of counterfeiting as soon as possible.