The Reserve Bank in Pretoria. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
The Reserve Bank in Pretoria. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

THE South African Reserve Bank is still "working closely" with relevant authorities to have a consignment of its bank notes, which were detained at Harare International Airport, released and transported to SA.

The aircraft carrying the bank notes, the amount of which is unspecified but believed to be running into millions of rand, was detained at the airport after the discovery of a dead body on the aircraft, suspected to be that of stowaway. The bank notes the aircraft is carrying were produced overseas.

Reserve Bank group executive for the currency cluster Pradeep Maharaj also explained the Bank’s reasons for having the notes produced overseas, saying notes were produced both locally and internationally to mitigate any major disruption in domestic bank note operations.

"Bank note printing has long lead times and the synchronisation between the international and domestic currency producing operations is critical to ensure a swift transition, should the need arise in case of a major disruption," Mr Maharaj said.

The bulk of the annual production of bank notes was done locally while only a small percentage was done offshore as part of the contingency plans of the Bank, Mr Maharaj said.

The aircraft is reported to have been on its way from Germany to SA when it had to stop at Harare International Airport for refuelling. It was then that blood was discovered dripping from the aircraft.