The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has lauded the South African Constitution for enhancing the country’s basic human rights since 1996.
SARB Governor Lesetja Kganyago said the central bank this year, while considering the most significant way to mark 25 years of democracy, opted to celebrate the Constitution.
He was speaking on Wednesday during the launch of the SA25 commemorative circulation and collectable coins at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg.
“The enhancement in basic human rights – the rights to housing, health care, basic services such as water and electricity, the rights of workers, the rights of civil organisations, the accountability of the executive to Parliament, the transformation of public finance management, the independence and competence of the judiciary, the independence and mandate of the SARB – all come from the Constitution,” said Kganyago.
The SARB and South African Mint started the project last year in which they hoped to capture some of the essential elements of the Constitution in coins.
The new SA25 commemorative circulation and collectable coins also honours the vision of the architects of the Constitution.
“The team at the South African Mint tapped into the perspectives of young South Africans and the creativity of various artists for the themes and designs of the SA25 ‘Celebrating South Africa’ coins,” he said.
“It is, in fact, the first time in the history of the SARB and the South African Mint that South Africans were consulted to this extent in developing coin themes and designs. I am told that, during the engagement with young South Africans, ‘our constitutional rights’ came up several times, which made this the overarching theme that we decided to depict on the coins.”
These perspectives, he said, were brought to life by some of the country’s most talented young artists who not only poured passion into the project but also captured the essence of the theme.
“One of the main functions of the SARB is to ensure there is a sufficient supply of high-quality banknotes and coins. This is the one function of the SARB that puts it in the pockets and wallets of all South Africans. It is only fitting that the money we use reflects the identity of our country,” Kganyago said.
“It is also the responsibility of the SARB to ensure the integrity of the banknotes and coins in circulation.”
He emphasised that the central bank had to ensure that banknotes and coins remain a secure method of payment, a unit of account, and a store of wealth.
“A banknote is but a piece of paper, and a coin is but a piece of metal. Both derive their worth from the trust that the citizens of a country have in the country’s currency. The confidence that South Africans have in their banknotes and coins is based on trust that the banknotes and coins are authentic, and trust in the institution that issues them,” he said