SA bank note company circulates faulty notes
PRETORIA: The South African Bank Note Company, a subsidiary of the SA Reserve Bank, has printed and circulated large quantities of faulty R100 notes bearing the signatures of central bank governor Gill Marcus and her predecessor Tito Mboweni.
The defects on the notes were uncovered in May this year, following an internal investigation.
The Reserve Bank and its printing subsidiary have tried to keep a tight lid on its findings, fearing a disclosure to the public could spook the markets.
Reserve Bank spokesman Hlengani Mathebula declined to answer questions referring to his previous statements in which he had said the central bank was satisfied with the quality of the notes.
Sources say the problems with the printing machines at the SABN were such that in June this year, the Reserve Bank decided to have 80 million R100 notes printed by Crane Currency's Swedish division. Crane Currency is an American firm.
Following several inquiries by The Sunday Independent this week, the Reserve Bank maintained its cover-up. It could neither deny nor confirm the printing of the faulty notes and whether they were still in circulation. The Sunday Independent has seen one such note which is missing the fluorescent markings that are invisible in normal light, but are evident under a UV beam.
Despite the deafening silence of the Reserve Bank, The Sunday Independent can reveal that:
The scandal around the R100 notes is said to have been the main reason for the suspension of SA Bank Note Company managing director Musa Mbhele, who has been charged with failing to maintain quality printing standards.
He initially fought his suspension in the Labour Court, where he sought to interdict the company from proceeding with his suspension and disciplinary hearing. Mbhele was adamant that the interdict proceedings did not need to be held in-camera, saying the need for secrecy surrounding the printing company's affairs did not supersede his right to a fair trial in open court. -PB News