Progress on Cleaning up Bleached South Africa Rand Currency
- In around November 2022, notice was made on the circulation of Bleached South African Rand Notes in Lesotho jurisdiction.
- Immediately after this notice, the financial sector was made aware in particular the Banking sector, and other financial intermediaries.
- Since the bleached currency loses properties and features of money, it becomes worthless and can longer be accepted in exchange for goods and services as a medium of exchange, the CBL had to quickly devise intervention strategies by which such currency could be removed from circulation. This brief provides progress to-date on the dealing with such bleached notes in Lesotho.
- So far about R400 000 value of bleached SA notes have been collected at the Central Bank of Lesotho and the cleaning campaign continues.
Interventions implemented and in progress
- Meeting SARB and other CMA Central Banks
- Meeting between Central Bank of Lesotho and Reserve Bank of South Africa was held in February. The meeting agreed that South Africa will launch new family of Bank notes with new features and will be in circulation by the 3rd of May 2023. The notes will be in circulation in Lesotho by latest June, 2023. They will immediately be circulated in high volumes in the Country to rid of the bleached currency. In the process the Bleached notes will continue being collected and remitted to the CBL for final dispatch to SARB to be confiscated.
- SARB and CBL will continue to engage on R&D identify the substance used for cleaning spilled ink used in ATM as a security measure and will the advice on new improved substance for future security.
- Public Awareness Campaigns
- Several public awareness campaigns were undertaken using various media platforms including National Broadcasting, Radio stations, social media and physical meetings with various groups in society including Businesses and ordinary citizens.
- Training sessions on the use of UV light amongst Business Fraternity and financial sector was initiated and a number of businesses and financial intermediaries have been trained on the use of UV light which helps identify bleached notes. Staff from the following businesses and institutions for instance benefited from these training sessions:
- Standard Lesotho bank; Lesotho Postbank; Pick &pay; Woolworths; game; Vodacom; Metropolitan; LHDA; ShopRite/Usafe; Gain; Ts’epo
ea sechaba; Sanna; Hypermarket; Seotsanyana filling station; RSL; Standard Lesotho bank corporate and business customers; Lesotho postbank corporate and business customers.
- Those in line up include FNB corporate and business customers and Hardware Businesses including Cash build.
- Encouragement of use of Alternative Payment platforms
- Businesses and the public at large have been encouraged to use alternative payment platforms such as M-Mpesa, and Ecocash, e-wallet from various financial and nonfinancial institutions; Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT); Internet Banking etc.
- The Bank is aware that in rural economy such alterative payment means are still scares however, the public has been advised to use and accept Rand as a legal tender as well as use of Loti-currency as a preferred legal tender.
- The public has been made and continues to be made aware that they reached approach any nearest Bank branch to validate their Rand notes holdings in order to be secure that such holdings are still bleached. Banks have been instructed to help the Public to test their Rand holdings across the Country.
- The Central Bank of Lesotho is in the process of placing UV lights instruments at every commercial border to assist those entering the country to have their Rand holdings tested at point of entry.
- Businesses have been encouraged to continue taking Rand notes but such note need to be validated using UV lights.
- The Central Bank will continue to raise awareness on this matter until all bleached currency has been redeemed from the system.
- It must however be noted that there is no value to be received in exchanged for bleached currency as that would violate currency legal statutes. Acceptance of such bleached currency for exchanges of goods and services, and exchange for value implies that the currency accepts proceeds of crime and could easily lead the country to grey listing or otherwise.