The South African government has approved amendments to the design of the 2023 series of coins.

In a virtual meeting on 31 August, the cabinet green-lit the new dimension, design, and compilation of the year 2023 Fourth Decimal Coin Series of South Africa.

The exact look and dimensions of the coin have not yet been released to the public.

The key change in the next series is that the word “South Africa” will be inserted on one side of the coins and printed in all the official languages.

The coins will be minted on a rotational system with the use of all the official languages being printed onto the coin over a certain period. For the next ten years, the languages will be alternated annually.

The following number of languages will be minted of the various coin varieties:

  • R5 – three languages will be used;
  • R2, 50c, and 10c – two languages will be used;
  • R1 – only one language will be used.

South African coins have traditionally had set design themes with denominations lower than R1 depicting botanicals, namely the Arum Lily, King Protea and the Strelitzia. The cents coins are also made out of either copper or bronze plated steel.

Denominations of R1 or more are made out of Nickel-plated copper, with the R5 using both copper-nickel on the circumference of the coin with an aluminium bronze core that looks similar to the cents. These higher denominations reflect animals instead of flora – the Springbok, the Kudu and the Black Wildebeest or Gnu.

The current denominations form part of the Third Coin Series and have been circulating since 1989. Throughout its use, the 1c, 2c and 5c coins have fallen out of production – those coins used to depict various types of birds.

According to the SARB, in 1961, when the Republic of South Africa was proclaimed, the country formally adopted a decimal system, with coins being converted to their decimal equivalent resulting in the one pound becoming a two rand coin, the one shilling a ten cent coin and the three pence a two-and-a-half cent coin. This system remained in place until 1964.

From 1965 until the late ’80s, the two-and-a-half cent coin was replaced with the two-cent cash, the Afrikaans wording “Suid Afrika” or the English wording “South Africa” was on every coin and the image of Jan van Riebeeck was replaced with the coat of arms.

With the introduction of new technology, for the Third Coin Series, electroplating coins were used to solve the escalating costs of material and manufacturing and the increasing risk of falsification, said SARB.

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