In December 2020 the U.S. Embassy based in Harare on its Twitter account wrote that U.S. currency issued after 1914 is legal tender. In support of this, The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John P. Mangudya sent out a detailed Public Notice echoing the same message.
Part of the notice read:
“It has come to the attention of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (the Bank) that some persons are refusing to accept old and worn United States dollar (U.S. dollar) notes alleging that they are old and mutilated and therefore of no value.
Fast forward four months later, the notice issued by RBZ still stands. With that being said, it seems the Zimbabwean public seem to not have grasped this, are oblivious of it, or never came across it. Some businesses (informal and formal) and individuals are refusing to accept notes issued in 2006, as an example, (US$100 dollar notes Series 2006 A) and torn U.S. dollar notes.
This is evidenced by a recent incident encountered by a patron who had breakfast at La Fontaine restaurant at Meikles hotel on the 9th of April 2021 and had the said US$100 bill initially rejected. The patron insisted that the bill is legal tender to the serving waiter who initially had accepted the bill but turned back by their superiors. It was after a long wait by the patron that the bill was accepted and an apology given by the representing authority of Meikles hotel.
This is one of the many incidences happening around the country where these older and torn U.S. dollar bills are rejected as legally valid payment by some establishments and individuals. It is cumbersome for the transacting public with such notes to get value for their money as they are rejected yet having the same value as those preferred by traders.
As the Zimbabwean society it is time to shun such economically detrimental behaviour and work together, banks included. Some of these traders argue that their banks refuse to accept such notes. So if this starts with the banks, ordinary Zimbabweans will start rejecting these notes as well. It is imperative that all banks accept these notes for the benefit of the public and that they get the relevant support they need to do so.
The questions that remain are when and where did this start (the rejection of the notes) is it amongst the traders or banks? Time and research can and will reveal this and hopefully, it will be a thing of the past.