Community Exchange News

Community Exchange News is the Newsletter of the Cape Town group of the SANE Community Exchange System


The Talent Exchange - where your wealth is your talent

Administration: Focus on governance issues

Now that we have a working mechanism to provide the CES Administration with an income - the recently introduced levy system - members have expressed the desire to be better informed about governance issues.

To provide more information about how the CES is 'governed' and to promote group democracy, several new features are going to be added.

The first is already operating in the form of a member discussion forum (see below).

In addition, there will a new 'Governance' section where committee minutes and correspondence will be available for viewing by all members.

A voting mechanism will be introduced to allow members to express their opinions and provide feedback about major issues affecting all members.

Most importantly, an Annual General Meeting will be called in the next month or so to elect a representative committee to run the CES. Up to now there has only been a steering committee that has seen a high turnover of members. It has been more or less open to anyone expressing an interest in the running of the CES. The time has come for the CES to have a proper constitution and to be run in a proper business-like way.

Site statistics: May, best month ever!

Cape Town

May 2004 was a bumper month for the Cape Town Talent Exchange, with two market days in one month and steady general trading.

At the end of May 2004:

Sales 2003/2004:

Month Sales Talents Levy Total
February3 295.00   295.00
March8 394.00   689.00
April9 1,768.00   2,457.00
May21 2,802.02   5,259.02
June80 6,091.82   11,350.84
July113 10,493.65   21,844.49
August194 19,949.01   41,793.50
September263 26,404.88   68,198.38
October179 35,284.47   103,482.85
November151 18,504.75   121,987.60
December91 10,601.50   132,589.10
January316 26,223.62   158,812.72
February269 27,392.60   186,205.32
March634 37,249.23   223,454.55
April204 15,041.29   238,495.84
May466 39,184.89 1,448.08 279,128.81
Total3,001 T277,680.73 T1,448.08 T279,128.81

Web Site: New features

Discussion forum implemented

A number of new features have been added to the CES web site this month but the most significant is the introduction of the "CES Forum" bulletin board. The introduction of the Forum provides members with the ability to air their views about the CES in general, about issues of governance or about the web site.

Currently there is just one link to the discussion forum but more will be added. The discussion forum is accessed from the home page of your account. On the right hand side you will see a heading 'CES Discussion Forum'. Click on "CES Forum" below it and you will be taken to the discussion forum bulletin board.

To use it you need to register yourself and provide a username and password. Click on the 'Register' button at the top and follow the prompts to a page where you fill in your details. You can provide optional profile information and set your preferences.

Once registered you can participate fully in the ongoing discussions. Select one of the subject areas and then find your way around by clicking on author names.

There is too much to say about it here but click around to find your way around and see how it works. You can't break it, so don't be timid! If you need help you can find answers to most questions by clicking on the 'FAQ' button.

Please use the forum to express your views about anything and everything related to the CES. If you would like to see a new category of discussion please write to the administrator. Whatever you put on the forum can be seen by the entire CES community (but not the general public) so if you want to say something in confidence then rather write to the administrator.

View remote wants

It is now possible to view the wants of remote groups. On the Wants page select a group from the 'Other Groups' drop-down list. This will show the wants of the remote group selected. If there is something you can respond to, contact the person advertising the want. Perform the trade in the normal way but when entering the transaction details remember to select the group of the buyer to find his or here name/account number.

Sort member balances

To get a better idea of group trading statistics you can sort the list by any of the columns on the 'Member Balances' page. Sorting is performed by clicking on the heading of the column by which you want the list sorted. You can switch by ascending or descending sort order on a particular column by clicking on the column heading again.

Order form

The long-promised order form is now working! If you (as buyer) wish to send an order to a seller, use the online order form.

The order form is accessible from the home page of your account, under the sub-heading 'Buyer Actions' in the middle. Use this feature to generate an online order form that will be emailed to the seller from whom you would like to purchase something.

While in most cases of trading on the CES an order form is not necessary, there might arise situations where you might wish to provide the seller with some detail with regard to the quantities and selection you require. An order form is then useful for the seller so as not to get your order wrong.

There are many other situations in which an order form would be useful, but it is most useful if you just want to keep a record of your trades.

By filling in the details on the form and pressing the [View] button, you will be shown an on-screen replica of the order form that will be emailed to the seller. On pressing the [Send] button the order form will be emailed to the seller and a copy of it will be emailed to you for reference purposes. You may also wish to print out a copy for your records.

Web Site: Planned features

Announcements Page

A number of new features are soon to be implemented on the CES web site. The most significant will be an Announcements Page where members, including the CES Administration, will be able to make announcements about anything of interest to CES members. This will be particularly useful for announcing events, either directly involving CES members or that would be of interest to members.

SMS transactions

In the past we experimented with a WAP site where members could enter their transactions through their cellphones. This was not implemented because many cellphones do not have WAP and the procedure was rather fiddly. We will make this feature available but of more significance will be the ability to enter transactions using SMS. Sellers will be able to enter their trades by sending a formatted SMS message to the server. This will

Submit offerings to other groups

We plan to make it possible for you to submit your offerings to other groups. While it is possible for all groups to view the offerings of all other groups, it appears that most users do not view any but the offerings of their own group. Be being able to submit your offerings to other groups you will be able to widen the 'market' for your offerings. This will obviously only be useful if you have offerings that would be meaningful to members in remote groups.

Submit wants to other groups

It is already possible to see the wants of other groups but soon you will be able to submit your wants to other groups, either to one group in particular or to all. This will obviously only be useful if you have a want that someone living remotely can satisfy. Some wants are not locally specific (e.g. you might want some advice about something) so you will be able to call on the national CES community.

Governance page

To enhance group democracy we plan to introduce a 'Governance Page' that will contain all committee minutes and information about CES governance issues. On the page there will also be a voting facility where you will be able voice your opinion on matters of collective interest.

Auto-payment feature

This one was promised a long time ago. We apologise for not introducing it sooner but plan to have it running soon. It will allow regular payments to be made without you having to send a trading slip. It will work pretty much like a debit order from a conventional bank.

Anything else?

If you have any suggestions about how we might improve the web site please let us have your ideas. Many of the features that have been implemented in the past were the result of suggestions by members.

Tip: Finding help

Members frequently write to the administrator asking for help about using the CES web site. The answers to most questions are available directly from the site. Each page has contextual help. Click on the [Help] button at the top right and you will be provided with help relating to that page. Some topics do not have their own top-level pages (e.g. correcting an incorrect transaction) but in such cases you will find help about the topic in the most obvious places, and some help is repeated on different pages just to make sure.

We are planning to create a downloadable user manual that will explain how to use the site in detail. There will be screen shots showing most user actions.

If you really cannot find help on a particular topic, write to the administrator at info{at}

SANE CES Administration
Email: ctte{at}

The SANE Community Exchange System is an intiative of the South African New Economics Network