I run a small business in Rondebosch and was informed by Absa that it would not accept a R200 note as it was "old" and had been superseded by a new issue note.

We were told to take it to the Reserve Bank to get it replaced with a new one.

I don’t know when this "rule" was brought in, or by whom, but it seems ridiculous that when we have accepted the currency from a customer in good faith we are expected to march off to the Reserve Bank to swap it. I assume there are thousands of such "old" notes in circulation and cannot imagine that the powers-that-be expect individuals and small businesses who find such currency in their possession to drop everything to head off to the Reserve Bank.

Upon investigation I was informed by the local branch of a large national retailer that it would accept the "old" notes at its tills.

Do the banks have different rules for large versus small businesses?

There are people in this beautiful country of ours who only manage to occasionally scrape together a few hundred rands with much effort. What happens if such a person ends up with one of these notes? I cannot believe anyone in their right mind would expect that person to suffer the hardship of either throwing the note away or going to the Bank to have it replaced.

Surely the commercial banks in SA, with their thousands of branches throughout the country, would be the most appropriate points of collection for any "old" notes?

Banks are the pet hate of many people and instances such as this reinforce such perceptions.

Derek Pryce
Via e-mail