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


  1. Administration: The New CTTE Management Group (CTTEMG)
  2. Markets: Next Market Day - 21 May
  3. CES Logo Competition: Winner Announced
  4. New Groups: Another One in Australia
  5. Statistics: Growth of the Talent Exchange
  6. CTTE Group statistics: April 2005
  7. Web Site: New features
  8. Issues: Rands and Talents
  9. Tip: Making your Offers Stand Out
  10. Theory: Interest
  11. Administration: Local Area Co-ordinators

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Administration: The New CTTE Management Group (CTTEMG)

Meet the new Management Committee! Details of the various portfolios are given and what the Director's plans are for that portfolio. If anyone would like to assist any of these directors please write to

Portfolio: Budgeting

Ian Gilfillan

The budget portfolio involves drawing up details of foreseeable administration revenue and expenditure for the next year. The CTTEMG has agreed that the it should be as short-lived as possible. The aim is not to entrench administration costs and create a bureaucracy, but to put processes in place that can run with as little intervention as possible, relying upon the innovation of members, and helping the Talent Exchange to thrive.

Secondly, I will be helping draft a system for spending the levy that gains the support of most members, and is completely transparent. Currently members can see all expenses that the administration has incurred, but not everyone is clear how these decisions were made, or the process for claiming from administration. This will also become transparent.

Thirdly, the handling of negative balances. Many members have expressed concern that people can indefinitely go into the negative. Currently it's up to each individual to decide with whom they wish to trade. Many members have proposed alternatives, such as capping negative (and positive) balances. Related to this is the issue of inactive members (members who leave the system - what happens to their positive or negative balances). These are complex issues, and I will be engaging with members on these to find a way forward that minimises rules that restrict trade, but also minimises the likelihood of abuse.

Portfolio: Training, Information and Reporting

Tim Jenkin

With regards to information and reporting I will continue producing the Newsletter but will attempt to get others to contribute articles. Members of the CTTEMG are required to periodically submit short reports of their portfolios for inclusion in the Newsletter. This way members will be kept better informed about what the Management Group is doing. With regard to financial and membership reporting, I will try to include more real-time statistical information on the web site.

This year we will be promoting the CES in disadvantaged areas. This will be a combined project with SANE who recently received funding to promote the CES. The project will involve training local area co-ordinators and setting up the structures to make it workable for people without access to computers.

Within the next two months a plan will be mapped out with SANE to introduce the CES into disadvantaged areas in the Cape. Three communities will be identified where its introduction will be likely to succeed. This means linking up with existing community organisations in order to promote the CES locally. Co-ordinators will be identified in each area and these people will be provided with resources they will need to allow members of their community to interface with the CES.

The funding is for a period of one year and in this time we have to ensure that the three communities are integrated into the CES and that they are operating on a sustainable footing. In other words, if and when the funding ceases these communities will continue to trade through the CES and not require the input of con money to keep going. Hopefully the example of the three communities will be so inspirational that many others will want to come on board too. Within the year we hope to have a number of other communities on board too, but funded from the CES rather than from an outside funder using ‘old’ money.

We also hope that the project will be so successful that it will attract further funding, but we need to ensure that any projects funded from the outside do not become dependant on that funding. The funding must serve as a booster for the CES as a whole and not become a necessary component of its continued development.

Portfolio: Publicity and Promotion

Russell Bishop

Publicity and Promotion are closely related. I see the difference as follows:

Promotion is a more or less a 'face to face' thing - talking to people, running workshops, etc. to get individuals interested in the TE to join.

Publicity is a more 'public' thing - organizing exposure in all the media (including cyberspace). Part of this would be to organize publicity events - stunts to gain people's attention.

In both of these areas there would be a need for materials - brochures, booklets and so on.

Also, I would want to see some movement in the key areas of our process before I go into getting exposure for the TE. I want to be sure in myself that we are really lifting our performance and increasing the benefits offered in being part of the exchange before I really start to push for exposure.

With all this in mind I am willing to commit to the following actions to take this portfolio forward:

I will organize and ensure:

  1. A polished and professional brochure available for distribution by the end of May 2005
  2. Two radio interviews for TE people during the month of June 2005
  3. One TV interview during June 2005
  4. One high-profile event gaining exposure in all the media during July 2005

Portfolio: Local Area Co-ordinators

Aubrey Dampies

1. Communication:

  1. Members and Co-ordinators
  2. Co-ordinators and the system

2. Provide training for the Co-ordinators:

  1. How to speak to and influence members
  2. Promote Cape Town Talent Exchange

3. Provide promotional material for Co-ordinators

4. Flexibility of meeting venues

5. Be the link between the members and the CTTE

Portfolio: Markets

Chatelaine Tayler and Gwen

Market day objectives.

To establish a professional yet friendly and comfortable environment for members to trade with each other.

Steps to be taken.

To prevent the current situation repeating itself, this being where people come to market, purchase and then do nothing or very little until the next market day certain conditions need to be put in place.

These being;

To enter the market place to trade a member will either have to

  1. Have a stall
  2. Their account must be closer to zero then where it was a month before.
  3. If their account is not closer to zero, then they will have to have made a least five trades within the previous month.

These measures need to be in place to guarantee activity amongst members and to also offer value to the stall holders.

To ensure that this happens, we will need Tim to develop some more software where we can take a snapshot of members balances at the start/end of the month. Then on market day another snapshot is taken of members balances with an indicator showing whether the member has improved their account or not.

A counter will also need to be developed showing how many trades have occurred per member in the previous month.

To ensure compliance, at market days an entrance table will greet members. Their account will be checked and then issued with a stamp or sticker which will allow the stall holders to know who they can trade with.

Promotional material will be developed that can be displayed on the stallholders table. This will include the new logo.

To ensure stallholders understand the new conditions plus also how to present their stall, a workshop will be held a week before the market day educating the stall holders on these processes.

To have a stall at the market all stall holders will have to attend at least one Workshop.

We require that the member balance snapshot is organized by the 31st March or the 1st of April. We can then present an email to all members outlining the new method for market days.

Portfolio: Membership & Brokering

Dawn Pilatowicz

Initially people are keen to join the system as they find it new and exciting and it sounds like something they aspire to. They enter their offerings and sit back and wait. When no one contacts them they lose interest and often even forget that they have ever posted an offering. They are reluctant to spend because they don't want to get in to debt. So nothing happens.

Other keen traders try to contact these members and eventually also lose interest or just simply get frustrated by the inaccuracies of the system with its out of date contact details and offerings. Even if they continue to struggle with the system they have diminished trust in it.

I propose that every single member of the exchange be contacted so that their details can be validated. All obsolete offerings will be deleted from the system and defunct members will be highlighted. It is my aim to have a viable, vibrant, up to date database by 31 July 2005 giving members a system they can trust and recommend, and to have a dedicated team of committed Local Area co-ordinators to continue to support and encourage members.

Portfolio: Disputes

Ken Meek

Portfolio: Shops and Businesses

Beau Horgan

Markets: Next Market Day - 21 May

In future all Market Days will be held on the 3rd Saturday of every month at different venues. The next market is as follows:

PLACE: Novalis Institute, Rosmead Avenue, Wynberg
DATE: Saturday 21 May
TIME: 10am to 1.30pm
COST: T20 per table
BOOKING: Chatelaine Tayler 021 782 7450 or Gwen Currie 021 789 1165 or write to

Book soon and let us make this first of our new-look markets a bumper one. If you have not yet traded come and learn how to do it. Bring your friends and sign them up at the market.

Suggestions for CTTE "New Look" markets

We must remember that we are going to change the world by introducing a new money order...serious stuff! We should look HAPPY, PROSPEROUS AND HAVING FUN.

Visual Impact

Decorate your stall with flowers, balloons - something eye-catching. Tablecloth perhaps to the floor so that personal belongings can be stored underneath. Neat arrangements, everything priced, clean second hand goods, plants attractively displayed.


CES Logo Competition: Winner Announced

The winner of the CES logo competition was Jamie Hewland, who won the T5,000 prize for the logo that received the most votes in our recent logo competition. The winning logos can be seen on the home page of your account. We are hoping that one day this logo will stand alongside the MasterCard and Visa logos displayed in the entrances of shops! It will signify that the shop owner will accept Talents as well as conventional money. We are planning to develop variations of the winning logo for different situations, but if you have any suggestions or comments please write to

New Groups: Another One in Australia

Another new CES group has been created for a former LETS group in Australia. The Complementary Currency Village Katoomba began to function on 5 May. Katoomba is in the Blue Mountains region near Sydney. The group came to us because reportedly there has been a decline in LETS in Australia in recent years and people are looking for something more serious and sustainable. By remaining paper based and very local, many groups grew to a certain size, plateaued for a few years and then declined. There are now two CES groups in Australia and they can begin trading with each other. Hopefully they will set an example and we will get other groups joining. While it is possible for groups in SA and Australia to trade, currently there is no conversion facility to compare relative prices. This facility is being created and soon international trade will be as easy as local and national trade.

Statistics: Growth of the Talent Exchange

There are now (7 May 2005) 1,861 members of the Talent Exchange nationwide (+ internationally!). There are 19 separate groups. The Cape Town group is the largest with 1,099 members. The following table shows the growth of the Cape Town group. Although the Talent Exchange officially started in February 2003, the first members were signed up in December 2002.

Year Members Trades Talents
2002 10    
2003 368 1112 132589.10
2004 577 4782 596726.24
2005 144 1231 265424.57
Total 1099 7125 994739.91

CTTE Group statistics: April 2005

After a steady downswing from November 2004, April saw a good turnaround which, we hope signals the beginning of a long and sustained improvement in trading. The downswing can partly be explained by the lack of markets, which often double the monthly amount of trading. We are hoping that some time this month the CTTE will pass the T1,000,000 traded mark. The second million should come in much less time than the first one.

At the end of April 2005:

Trader Statistics:

Total members: 1095 Total traders: 643
% of members who have traded: 58.72 % of members who have not traded: 41.28
Total sellers: 379 Seller/buyer ratio: 0.65
% of members who have sold: 34.61 % of traders who have sold: 58.94
# of sellers who have bought 323 # of sellers who have not bought: 56
Total buyers: 587 Buyer/seller ratio: 1.55
% of members who have bought: 53.61 % of traders who have bought: 91.29
# of buyers who have sold: 323 # of buyers who have not sold: 264
Trading Statistics
Total # of sales: 7070 Total # of purchases: 7060
Total income: 979912.53 Total expenditure: 979912.13
Income/expenditure less levies: 931344.53 Overall balance: 0.00
Talentry Statistics (from 15 May)
Total revenue: 48568.00 Transferred to Admin: 44444.14
# of levy payments: 4348 Current Talentry balance: 4123.86

Member statistics at the end of April 2005:

Individuals: 927
Families: 40
Companies: 66
Organisations: 41
Virtuals: 17
Public: 3
Administrators: 1
Total: 1095

Trading statistics up to the end of April 2005:

Month-Year Trades Talents Average Levy Total (- levy) Total (+ levy)
February 2003 3 295.00 98.33 0.00 295.00 295.00
March 2003 8 394.00 49.25 0.00 689.00 689.00
April 2003 9 1768.00 196.44 0.00 2457.00 2457.00
May 2003 21 2802.02 133.43 0.00 5259.02 5259.02
June 2003 80 6091.82 76.15 0.00 11350.84 11350.84
July 2003 113 10493.65 92.86 0.00 21844.49 21844.49
August 2003 194 19949.01 102.83 0.00 41793.50 41793.50
September 2003 263 26404.88 100.40 0.00 68198.38 68198.38
October 2003 179 35284.47 197.12 0.00 103482.85 103482.85
November 2003 151 18504.75 122.55 0.00 121987.60 121987.60
December 2003 91 10601.50 116.50 0.00 132589.10 132589.10
January 2004 316 26223.62 82.99 0.00 158812.72 158812.72
February 2004 269 27392.60 101.83 0.00 186205.32 186205.32
March 2004 634 37249.23 58.75 0.00 223454.55 223454.55
April 2004 204 15041.29 73.73 0.00 238495.84 238495.84
May 2004 464 40575.73 84.34 1443.84 277627.73 279071.57
June 2004 149 29748.50 184.87 2203.60 305172.63 308820.07
July 2004 98 42439.85 404.09 2839.16 344773.32 351259.92
August 2004 184 42674.52 215.70 2984.96 384462.88 393934.44
September 2004 522 58561.65 104.30 4116.94 438907.59 452496.09
October 2004 638 85618.02 124.75 6025.96 518499.65 538114.11
November 2004 706 100041.54 131.84 6962.18 611579.01 638155.65
December 2004 598 91159.69 141.99 6248.20 696490.50 729315.34
January 2005 422 65470.98 144.75 4386.88 757574.60 794786.32
February 2005 178 53361.10 279.40 3627.72 807307.98 848147.42
March 2005 352 51718.68 136.81 3561.50 855465.16 899866.10
April 2005 224 79735.41 336.74 4306.44 930894.13 979601.51
Total: 7070 T979601.51 T138.56 T48707.38    
Excluding levy: T930894.13 T131.67  

Web Site: New features

Trading Activity

Although a lot of work has been done on the site in the past couple of months, the only visible addition is a 'Trading Activity' button on the 'This Group' page. This allows you to view trading activity for a selected time period. When you press the [Trading Activity] button the default time period is 'Today', which shows you the number and value of today's trades. You can choose from a number of preset time periods, such as this week, this month, last month and particular years, or you can enter any time period in days. This feature is useful for comparison purposes, e.g. to compare this year with last year, this month with last month, this week with last week etc.

'System Health'

Two additional lines at the bottom of the 'Member Balances' page (reached by pressing the [This Group] button) give a picture of the 'health' of the group. The 'Member Balances' page shows, among other things, the balances of all members who have traded. All the positive balances added to all the negative balances comes to zero. That in itself is not very interesting - apart from the fact that if they didn't add up to zero we would know something serious had gone wrong with the accounting! What is interesting is the sum of all the positive balances as a proportion of the sum of all trades. The ideal position for any group is a lot of trading with all balances hovering around zero. In other words, the sum of all positive balances should be as low as possible. This means that all Talents are in circulation and not being 'hoarded' by members. It also means that everyone is getting as much out of the Talent Exchange as they are giving to it. That is 'good health'. The higher the sum of all positive balances is in relation to total trades, the worse the health of the group is. It could be said that a large number represents the degree of inequity in the group.

The 'Talent Velocity' line is the ratio of the sum of all positive balances to the sum of all trades. The higher this number the better the health of the group. We have called it 'velocity' because it represents the 'speed' at which Talents are circulating in the group.

The 'System Health' line is the same ratio as above, but expressed as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the better the health. One hundred percent would be the ideal position where there are no positive or negative balances. While this position is unlikely ever to be reached, our aim should be to improve the current position of 70%. As activity increases and goods become more available, people will rather spend their Talents than hoard them, and so the 'health' of the group will improve.

Issues: Rands and Talents

There seems to be a trend among new members, and some older ones too, to quote prices in both Rands and Talents. Most common is 50/50 Rands/Talents. Those who have been with the Talent Exchange for a long time or who are doing well, tend not to quote a Rand component. They have come to understand that it doesn't really matter receiving the full price in Talents because having the Talents means that they can spend them on things they would normally spend Rands on, and in that way end up with more Rands.

Personally I avoid buying from people who quote a Rand component, except where there is no choice. I find it somewhat annoying to see Rands quoted in new offerings. To me it feels like pollution of our pristine Rand-free environment!

It is understandable and acceptable to quote Rands for parts and expenses that were paid for with Rands, but I see no reason to charge part Rands for a service where no Rands were expended. To request part payment in Rands indicates that the seller does not take Talents seriously and has a lack of faith and trust in them. It is almost as if they are thinking that the Talent component is a 'free' or token component while the Rand component is the 'real' payment.

When you have traded sufficiently you come to realise that Talents are as valuable as Rands. There are many who have spent Rands on doing something but have only charged the buyer/customer in Talents. That shows real understanding and faith that the Talent economy can stand on its own. Charging Rands is also not fair for those who only charge Talents. If those who charge Rands are quite happy to accept Talent-only goods and services from others then they should be happy to accept Talents only from their buyers.

Tip: Making your Offers Stand Out

Currently it is not possible to upload pictures of your offerings but if you want to include a picture of an offering send a digital picture to Admin will reduce it in size and place it in your ad. We hope to soon provide the facility to upload your own pictures.

In the meantime there are a number of ways to make your offerings stand out. The best way to attract attention is simply to increase the amount of information about your offerings. A simple two or three word description will not attract anyone's attention but a two or three paragraph one will. There is no limit on the length of an offering so the more you explain about what you have to offer the more attention it will receive.

Another way to get people to notice your offerings is to update them frequently. This stamps them with the current day's date and hence puts them in the 'Latest Offerings' box. This is where most people look. It also puts them at the top of the category list and ensures they appear in the monthly list that is emailed to members. You can update an offering simply by pressing the [Update] button but try to actually improve your offerings each time you update them. Remember, your offerings are your personal ads. The more you say about your offering and the better you present it, the more that buyers will take you seriously.

Use HTML code in your text to highlight important things about your offerings. You can have headings and sub-headings in your offerings. If you know HTML code please don't get carried away with formatting your offerings because that makes them look ugly! If you surround text (in the input box) with simple <b>bold</ b> code or <i>italic</i> code you will get bold and italic. Please do not type your entire offerings in CAPS in order to get attention as that looks very ugly and is somewhat offputting. Use caps in HEADINGS to make them stand out.

Theory: Interest

One of the fundamental differences between Talent Exchange money and conventional money (e.g. Rands) is that the former is free. That is, when you go into 'overdraft' (i.e. below zero and into the red) you are not charged interest on it. Those red figures in your statement of account represent credit that you have received from the community, not debt to anyone. You did not have to borrow anything to go into debit, you simply went there by making a purchase greater than the amount you were above zero, or from zero if you had not engaged in trade before.

Why is there no interest in the Talent Exchange? Is it because there is no 'real' money and therefore nothing can be lent or borrowed? No, when you borrow money from a bank no 'real' money is lent either. The loan from the bank is just book money and appears miraculously as a deposit in your account after a few key presses on a computer keyboard. No physical cash is moved around. Sure you can write out cheques on the deposit and get physical money from the teller but the deposit itself is just a number on a computer, much the same as the numbers in your Talent Exchange account.

How then can banks charge interest for simply typing some numbers into a computer? This is one of the mysteries that banks keep hidden from us. The money that banks 'loan' us is created out of fresh air, not lent to us from the accounts of savers. All the savers can check their balances at any point in time and they will find that their savings have not diminished because the banks have lent out their money. Banks cannot, in any case, lend out other people's money without their written permission. Every loan is the creation of new money and it is through this process that new money enters the economy. Every Rand in existence has a Rand of debt backing it and every Rand of debt has an amount of interest attached to it.

Even a six-year-old would then be puzzled to know where the interest comes from if every Rand in circulation has a Rand of debt attached to it. This is the crux of our debt-based money system: there is more debt than there is circulating money, and the money to pay the interest can only come from, you guessed it, more debt. This holy cycle is what drives our economy forward in an ever increasing spiral of money and debt creation. Stop this process and you have a disastrous depression. Keep it going and you have an even more disastrous outcome in the form of increased indebtedness, resource depletion, environmental destruction and ultimately the complete collapse of 'civilisation' as we know it. A money system based entirely on debt is a very shaky foundation indeed for an economy and human society in general.

So accustomed have we become to believing that if we want credit we have to go to a financial institution to borrow it that we forget that credit is not something that can be given to us by a third party outside the loop of buyers and sellers. Credit is getting something from the community (e.g. the assistance of bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters if we want to build a house) before we have delivered anything of like value back to the community. That is real credit, not some numbers on a computer. The Talent Exchange recognises this fact and that is why it allows you to go into debit (i.e. receive credit from the community) without having delivered anything of value. Your debit represents your commitment to the community, not something you owe to the Talent Exchange 'bank'. The Talent Exchange does not punish you for being in debit by charging interest on that debit, for that debit has nothing to do with the Talent Exchange 'bank'. As the credit comes from the community it would be theft on the part of the CES Administration to demand interest from you, just as it is theft on the part of conventional banks to demand interest from you for creating money out of fresh air with which you obtain credit from the community.

In any case, no one needs to borrow money in the Talent Exchange because they can simply go into debit. Anyone wanting to charge a fee for 'lending' Talents (interest) would be wasting their time for there would be no takers.

Administration: Local Area Co-ordinators

The following is the current list of CTTE Local Area Co-ordinators or 'branches' of the Cape Town Talent Exchange. If you have a problem accessing your account, do not have regular access to a computer or just hate the internet, then contact your nearest co-ordinator who will help you interface with the Talent Exchange. Co-ordinators will provide you with everything you need to participate, as well as enter your trades for you. We hope to 'recruit' co-ordinators in the sub-areas not listed below. If you would like to assist please write to the Administrator at the address at the bottom of this Newsletter.

# A/C # Name Sub-Area Suburb Tel (h) Tel (w) Cell E-mail
1 SANE0222 Marco Bezzoli Atlantic Green Point 021 447 8675 082 957 8819
2 SANE0043 Raymond Mcinga Cape Flats Lost City 073 630 1403
3 SANE0349 Iain Macdonald City Bowl Gardens 021 462 6755 021 461 8880 072 327 2840
4 SANE0635 Lara Pietersen City Bowl V&A Waterfront 082 726 6957
5 SANE0554 Occulus City Bowl Woodstock 082 900 7993 021 426 2707 082 900 7993
6 SANE0564 James Baxendale Constantiaberg Constantia 021 794 4264 021 794 4264 082 903 3975
7 SANE0435 Dawn Pilatowicz Constantiaberg Marina da Gama 021 788 8357 021 788 1528 083 226 8250
8 SANE0485 Liza Johnson Durbanville Durbanville 072 234 9595
9 SANE0448 Jeremy & Jacqui Wakeford Hout Bay Hout Bay 021 790 8558 021 650 2982 083 414 7393
10 SANE0966 Aubrey Dampies Delft Delft 021 954 1613 084 251 1835
11 SANE0146 Angie Whitehead Northern Suburbs Parow 021 939 0467 021 937 1940 072 242 4334
12 SANE0756 Ethel Seager Northern Suburbs Tygervalley 021 976 8176 083 701 1480
13 SANE0481 Leroy Al Kata Other 083 218 7588
14 SANE0009 Karen Jordi South Peninsula Glencairn to Noordhoek 072 387 5661
15 SANE0292 Elfi Tomlinson South Peninsula Kalk Bay 021 788 7842 021 788 7842 083 703 3878
16 SANE0127 Debbie Bub South Peninsula Kommetjie 021 785 4664
17 SANE0010 Beau Horgan South Peninsula Noordhoek 021 789 2494 021 789 2494
18 SANE0098 Heidi-Jayne Hawkins South Peninsula Welcome Glen 021 650 2442 084 951 5535
19 SANE0046 Vicky Richter Southern Suburbs Kenwyn 021 761 2256 021 797 3660 073 168 4748
20 SANE0035 Unwembi Southern Suburbs Newlands 021 683 4515
21 SANE0022 Len Stern Southern Suburbs Rondebosch 021 689 4239
22 SANE0002 Tim Jenkin Southern Suburbs Rosebank 021 685 4741 021 683 4515 083 354 9374
23 SANE0534 Kim Fourie Tableview Ysterplaat 021 510 5261 021 534 0460 083 993 4580


Talent Exchange User Guide

  • Do you wish you knew how to update and delete your offerings and wants?
  • Do you wish you knew how to delete an incorrect transaction that you have entered?
  • Do you wish you knew how to...?

All the answers are available right from your account on the CES web site.

Download the Talent Exchange User Guide. To do so, access your account on the CES web site at or go directly to and download one of the printable versions of the User Guide. You can also view the HTML version on the screen. If you would like to purchase a paper version (for Talents) look under 'CES Services' in the Offerings List to see who you can get it from. Your local area co-ordinator should also be able to provide you with a copy.