In terms of the South African Reserve Bank Act, 1989 (Act No. 90 of 1989), the Bank has the sole right to issue banknotes and coin. It is international best practice to develop a new banknote series every six to eight years. The South African Reserve Bank, therefore, acts proactively by developing new banknotes to ensure that the country’s money remains among the safest currencies in the world.
Among these features are the little dots on the front and back of the banknotes, watermark (a shadow image of Nelson Mandela and the hidden denomination numeral of the banknote), main motif, perfect print registration, micro-printing (small print), unique numbering, security thread, Coat of Arms, feature for the visually impaired and the sizes of the new banknotes.
Some printing on the new banknotes is raised from the surface of the paper. Intaglio, or raised printing, is a printing technique that gives the banknote a unique and rough feel, quite unlike the printing on a newspaper or book, which has a smooth feel to it. Raised printing is applied on both sides of the new banknotes. Raised printing is also used as a feature for the visually impaired.
You should know how to tilt the new banknote in order to see some of the other security features that have been introduced, such as the security thread and the denomination numeral (value) of the new banknote in colour-changing ink. When the new banknote is held almost horizontally to your eyes, the hidden image of the denomination numeral appears in the band below the image of former President Nelson Mandela.