Community Exchange News

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


  1. News: SANE Talent Shop to open on 29 October
  2. News: CES/CTTE Head Office
  3. Promotion: New Economics for Social Change
  4. Administration: Suppliers required
  5. New groups: More Australian and New Zealand groups join the CES
  6. Statistics: Growth of the CES
  7. CTTE Group statistics: September 2005
  8. Web Site: New features
  9. Tip: How to jazz up your offerings
  10. Theory: Imagine if there was more than one of...
  11. Administration: CTTE Local Area Co-ordinators

Unsubscribing: How to get off this list?

If you would like to unsubscribe from the Community Exchange News mailing list don't write to the Admin and ask to be removed. You are in a position to determine what you receive and for how long you do or don't receive anything. Simply access your account and click on the [My Record] button at the top. In your personal profile you can tick which publications you don't want to receive.

Back issues

If you would like to read back issues of Community Exchange News, they are all on the web site at

The Talent Exchange — where your wealth is your talent

1. News: SANE Talent Shop to open on 29 October

The first Talent Shop is due to open this month. The shelves have been created and now we require the goods! Please start bringing in your wares for sale at the shop. You may sell your goods in two ways, either by selling them outright to the shop or getting the shop to sell them on your behalf. Whatever the case, the shop will put a markup on the goods to make it profitable to sell them.

The grand opening will take place at the shop in Kenilworth (see address in next item below ) on Saturday 29 October at 10 a.m. You are invited to attend this event and spend your Talents at the shop. As this is not a market, goods for sale will not be accepted on the day and would have to be brought to the shop before that date. The shop will also serve as a place where you can advertise your services. There will be a notice board where you will be able to place notices about your services and you will also be able to leave brochures and pamphlets.

Please contact Zinzi at 021 762 5933 about any matters relating to the shop.

2. News: CES/CTTE Head Office

The Community Exchange System (the overall name for the trading system we use) and the Cape Town Talent Exchange (the Cape Town group of the CES) have a head office! The SANE office in Kenilworth is the 'headquarters' of the CES. If you need to contact the CES/CTTE for any reason come to the office at 1 Haven House, 2 Mains Avenue, Kenilworth; Tel: 021 762 5933. This is also the location of the Talent Shop. Join the CTTE, bring your trading slips/sheets to HQ for entering into the system, view the latest offerings and wants, enter your own offerings and wants, get your statement of account, purchase a user guide etc. If you have any problems that you want solved or ideas that you want taken up, come and see us at the office.

3. Promotion: New Economics for Social Change

SANE has embarked on a project to take the CES to disadvantaged communities. The project has targeted three areas that will serve as pilots for a much broader roll out. The three communities are Masiphumelele (near Fish Hoek/Kommetjie), Harare (in Khyelitsha) and Delft.

Starting at the beginning of October in Masiphumelele, twenty residents attended a New Economics course that culminated in a local market day on 8 October. The purpose of the course is to bring an understanding to the 'students' of the problems associated with conventional money and their manifestation in mainstream economics. They will be introduced to the idea of complementary currencies and New Economics, with a full day devoted to the Talent Exchange.

In each area a local co-ordinator's office will be established where local residents will be able to bring their trading slips for entry into the system, where they will be able to advertise their offerings and wants and where they will be able to see what else is available on the system. The plan is also to set up a Talent shop in each area.

Although the markets are intended to be local efforts, we encourage other Talent Exchange members to attend these markets, both as buyers and sellers. The dates of the next markets are as follows: Harare: 10 a.m. Saturday 22 October; Delft: 10 a.m. Saturday 12 November. These markets do not replace any other markets that may be arranged by Talent Exchange members.

This project has been made possible by generous donations from the Ford Foundation and the Embassy of Finland.

4. Administration: Suppliers required

Now that the Talent Exchange is getting big and we are actively rolling it out in disadvantaged areas, it is becoming necessary to formalise some aspects of our operations instead of doing things on an ad hoc basis.

We are looking for suppliers of the items below. If anyone can supply these on an ongoing basis please contact the Cape Town Talent Exchange administration by writing to ctte{at} or phoning 021 762 5933. Suppliers will be paid in Talents, though if certain costs have to be covered in Rands this will be considered. The supplier who is able to cover most costs in Talents will be awarded the 'contract'.

We are also looking for the following items for the sub-area offices that we plan to set up:

If you require further information about any of the above please contact the CTTE admin using the details above.

5. New groups: More Australian and New Zealand groups join the CES

One Australian and three more New Zealand groups have joined the CES in the past month and a bit. That brings to eleven the number of non-South African groups in the CES. The new Australian group is Rainbow Region LETS, which is based in Nimbin, New South Wales. The three New Zealand groups are the River Exchange & Barter System (REBS) in Wanganui, the West Coast Employment Swap & Trade (WEST) in Kumara and the Motueka Skills Swap (MO$$). As the international trading feature has now been activated it is possible for you to trade with these remote groups if you find an offering that can be traded across the miles. When you enter a trade the programming converts the value of one currency into another.

6. Statistics: Growth of the CES

There are now (10 October 2005) 3,439 members of the Community Exchange System (including the international groups). There are 27 separate groups. The Cape Town Talent Exchange is the largest group with 1,402 members. The following table shows the growth of the Cape Town Talent Exchange:

Year Members Trades Ave/Day Talents Ave(T)
2002 10        
2003 365 1112 3 132589.10 119.23
2004 576 4780 13 596726.24 117.97
2005 451 3564 13 671963.16 175.99
Total 1402 9456 10



* As at 10 October 2005

7. CTTE Group statistics: September 2005

September saw a slight increase in trading over August despite the fact that there was no market during the month. While there has been a steady growth in trading since the beginning, there are still fluctuations in trading from month to month. It is difficult to explain these fluctuations but one trend that is becoming clear is that trading seems to take a dip during the winter months.

At the end of September 2005:

Trader Statistics:

Total members: 1364 Total traders: 782
% of members who have traded: 57.33 % of members who have not traded: 42.67
Total sellers: 468 Seller/buyer ratio: 0.66
% of members who have sold: 34.31 % of traders who have sold: 59.85
# of sellers who have bought 396 # of sellers who have not bought: 72
Total buyers: 710 Buyer/seller ratio: 1.52
% of members who have bought: 52.05 % of traders who have bought: 90.79
# of buyers who have sold: 396 # of buyers who have not sold: 314
Trading Statistics
Total # of sales: 9277 Total # of purchases: 9277
Total income: 1365917.74 Total expenditure: 1365917.74
Income/expenditure less levies: 1290566.88 Overall balance: 0.00
Treasury Statistics
Total revenue: 75350.86 Transferred to Admin: 69737.62
# of levy payments: 6552 Current Treasury balance: 5613.24

Member statistics:

Individuals: 1144
Families: 59
Companies: 79
Organisations: 51
Virtuals: 25
Public: 3
Administrators: 1
Total: 1364

Trading statistics:

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 633 37249.23 58.85 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 705 100041.54 132.03 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 79730.01 336.71 4306.04 930889.13 979596.11
May 2005 528 73327.24 129.19 5113.26 999103.11 1052923.35
June 2005 412 68473.10 155.06 4587.88 1062988.33 1121396.45
July 2005 599 91153.86 141.46 6419.32 1147722.87 1212550.31
August 2005 386 72543.66 175.24 4899.62 1215366.91 1285093.97
September 2005 285 80994.41 264.41 5636.44 1290724.88 1366088.38
Total: 9278 T1366088.38 T147.24 T75363.50    
Excluding levy: T1290724.88 T139.12  

8. Web Site: New features

Statements of account

While it has been possible for you to see your statement of account from the start of the CES in 2003, it is now possible to print it out in a printer-friendly format. The new statements look a lot like the kind of statements that our banks send us in envelopes every month. It is also possible to email yourself the printer friendly version in case you are somewhere that has no printer.

At the beginning of every month the administration will email your statement of account to you. This action was performed for the first time at the beginning of September. We apologise to those members who received garbled statements, and in some cases the wrong statements. This was the result of teething problems with our mailing program. A second, correct, set of statements was sent out after discovering the problems with the first mailing.

After receiving your statement of account, you have 30 days to inform the CTTE administration of any inaccuracies in your statement, whereafter your details will be considered correct. After the first and second postings of the statements, many incorrect trades have been corrected. The most common error seems to be the incorrect entry of buyer details.

Please study your statement when it arrives to ensure that there are no errors. As you know, in the CES transaction information is entered by the members themselves and not by trained bank tellers. For this reason it is easy for errors to creep in.

9. Tip: How to jazz up your offerings

In a recent article about the Talent Exchange in the Cape Times (12 August), Talent Exchange member Helen Brain had this to say about her offerings:

A while ago I bought a bakkie load of Italian leather from a friend. I was hand making miniature books and thought I would use it for the covers. It proved too bulky and too smelly for my little books, so a year later it was still in my house.

I advertised it on the CES web site. The first advert was simple:"Italian shoe leather. T150 a skin". Nobody replied. Then I realised that I needed to be more cunning. Without being able to see, or better to feel the gorgeous nappa, nobody would be persuaded that they really needed it. So I put in a new advert: "Soft Italian leather, fabulous colours, great for cushions, throws, clothing for leprechauns and fetish wear"

I sold it all within two days. Looking at the people who bought it, I don't think they used it for cushions.

This is an excellent example of how a badly framed offering can be turned around to be a Talent-spinner. Go to the offerings list and look through it. It is replete with boring offerings that you just know will never attract any attention. For example, there are dozens of 'Massage' offerings. Would you go to someone who says 'Head, neck and shoulder massage' or someone who tells you what kind of massage it will be, how it will benefit you and how experienced the masseur/masseuse is?

Every service offering should have the following structure:

  1. A good, descriptive title that immediately attracts the eye
  2. A detailed description of the service itself
  3. What the buyer (client, customer, patient etc.) will get out of it; how they will benefit from receiving it
  4. Why you are the best person to come to. Tell us something about your experience, training, attitude etc.

Every goods offering should have a similar structure:

  1. A good, descriptive title that immediately attracts the eye
  2. A detailed description of the item(s) you are offering for sale
  3. If not obvious, explain or suggest how the goods can be used; how they will benefit the buyer
  4. If there is competition, why your goods are the best

There are other ways of spicing up your offerings. You can add a picture, you can apply some basic HTML coding to emphasize key words and you can apply structure with bullets. Any line starting with an asterisk (*) will automatically be bulleted. Most important of all, update your offerings frequently. Most people only look at the latest offerings so if you update regularly your offerings will always be near the top of the lists. Regular updating also indicates that you care and that you are keen.

10. Theory: Imagine if there was more than one of...

There are many things in our lives where there is just one of a thing. For example, there is just one air supply, one water supply, one electricity supply, one drainage system, one road system, one telephony supplier (soon to end, we are told), one government, one legal system, one of all kinds of things. We have got so used to there being just one of these things that we never imagine that there could be more than one them.

But imagine if there was more than one of some of these things. Imagine if there was more than one air supply. This might come about one day when our urban air supply is just too polluted to breathe and someone provides fresh, filtered air that we could breathe through some kind of breathing apparatus like astronauts or scuba divers.

Imagine if there was free competition in water supply and we could have four or six taps on our sinks and basins. The water providers would compete with each other by providing filtered water, cooled water, flavoured water, fizzy water and so on. Not very practical. Which lever would we use to flush our toilets?

Imagine if there was competition in electricity and we had four switches for each light and each plug on the wall. Providers could provide super-smoothed electricity, direct current electricity for our electronic apparatuses, electricity that we could use for communicating etc. Again not very practical. Life would become too complicated and we would connect the wrong things to the wrong plugs.

Imagine if we had more than one set of drains. How would we decide which drainage provider gets our dirty bath water? Imagine if there was more than one set of roads. Where would the second or third set go. Would they have to be on stilts or under the ground?

We can all imagine how things will improve when there is more than one telephony provider!

Imagine if there was more than one government in each country. We could decide which one we should pay our taxes to and which one's laws we should obey. Wouldn't work. Each government would try to outlaw the other and there would be constant war. Politicians might even cross the road to the other government if the pay is better.

So it is correct that for many things there should only be one thing. To have more than one of many things would not provide any more convenience; in many cases it would create more inconvenience.

But having more than one of some things that we formerly thought there could only be one of, can create more convenience. There used to be just one postal and delivery system — the post office — now there are many courier and postal services that really have made a difference. There used to be just one refuse removal service, now there are many.

Now imagine if there was more than one money system. We have all grown up with the idea that there is just the one money system, the one provided by, well, the government isn't it? In this country we call our money Rands and cents. It is the only money system operating within our borders, though we can buy Pounds and Dollars if we want to but we can't use them for general trading. They call our national money legal tender and it is the only stuff we can use to pay our taxes, and it is illegal to refuse it if it is offered in payment within the boundaries of South Africa. We are not allowed to copy it or make our own money that looks like the national money, and call it Rands and cents. That is called counterfeiting. If it has no material existence and is called Rands and cents then it is legal for banks to 'create' it by themselves, for themselves on a computer in much the same way as a note forger would print notes for himself on a printing machine.

Would having another money system create more convenience? How would a second or third money system be more useful than the one we already have? Would I be richer?

These are not the questions to ask. What should be asked is: Does the current money system do what it claims to do, namely, serve as a neutral mechanism to facilitate trading? Is it serving society well? Is it serving me well?

The answer to all these questions is an unequivocal NO.

The monopolistic Rand money system is NOT something that is provided by the government as a public service but by private companies who do so for private gain. Money in this system is provided by commercial banks as a business service and it is done so for their own profit and for no other reason. While the South African Reserve Bank, also a privately-owned institution, does issue a small amount of debt-free money in the form of cash, most money in our national money system comes into circulation as interest-bearing debt. The overall control of our money system, however, is in the hands of the banks and other financial institutions, not in the government's. The latter can influence fiscal policy and the SARB influences monetary policy, but the overall functioning of the money system is controlled by private institutions. And as they say, those who control money control everything!

If these money-issuing private companies are providing our money for the sole purpose of their own private gain then how can this money system be operating in the best interests of the people who use it? How can we say that money is neutral? The simple answer is that it doesn't operate in our best interests; it operates in the interests of those who provide it.

Banks only provide enough money as it is profitable for them to do so. They do this by granting credit to those who already have money, those who have provable means of repaying it or those who have material assets to act as collateral. Those who do not meet the banks' criteria need money as much as anyone else, but they are cut out of the loop and left to fend for themselves.

Every Rand that banks issue comes with a requirement that more must paid back than is granted as credit. This requirement is never created and can only come from someone else obtaining more bank credit. There is thus a permanent state of more debt than there is money to pay it back. To ensure that the principal plus the interest can be paid back there has to be a constant expansion of bank credit. This forces us all to compete and requires that the money supply, and hence the economy, constantly grows. This growth is not inspired by a desire to see more of us living better but out of sheer necessity. Should the money supply stop growing there will not be enough to pay back the interest and so a depression will ensue and banks will go out of business. This need for a constant growth of the money supply is manifested as the growth imperative of our economies, which is leading to the destruction of our environment.

Think about it. The money system that we have is not God given; it is a human creation. It was made to work the way it does by those who control it. Specifically it was designed to enrich those who control the supply of money, and this can only happen if it impoverishes the rest of us.

If it is human beings who create money systems then most definitely we can create another one (or more). The CES is an example of how an alternative money system could work. This might not be immediately apparent because it is so small, but there is no reason why it could not do everything that the conventional money system does, and more. The most fundamental difference is that the CES is controlled by the people who use it. It is a democratic money system because money is created on demand by its users and not by profit-seeking institutions outside the circuit of buyers and sellers. CES money is 'free' in that no interest is demanded and it is not constantly sucked away from those who create it to a parasitic class of usurers.

The point of this article was to help you to come to terms with the notion of multiple money systems. The dominant national money system can be challenged and must be challenged because it is defective and dysfunctional, benefiting only a small fraction of humanity and destroying our planet.

11. Administration: CTTE 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 marco.arch{at}
2 SANE0043 Raymond Mcinga Cape Flats Mitchells Plain 073 630 1403 raymond{at}
3 SANE0349 Iain Macdonald City Bowl Gardens 021 462 6755 021 461 8880 072 327 2840 iain-intuition{at}
4 SANE0635 Lara Pietersen City Bowl Woodstock 082 726 6957 lara{at}
5 SANE0554 Occulus City Bowl Woodstock 082 900 7993 021 426 2707 082 900 7993 occulus{at}
6 SANE0564 James Baxendale Constantiaberg Constantia 021 794 4264 021 794 4264 082 903 3975 Bax1a{at}
7 SANE0435 Dawn Pilatowicz Constantiaberg Marina da Gama 021 788 8357 021 788 1528 083 226 8250 dawn{at}
8 SANE0966 Aubrey Dampies Delft Delft 021 954 1613 084 251 1835 adampies{at}
9 SANE0485 Liza Johnson Durbanville Durbanville 072 234 9595 vrcptadm{at}
10 SANE0448 Jeremy & Jacqui Wakeford Hout Bay Hout Bay 021 790 8558 021 650 2982 083 414 7393 jwakeford{at}
11 SANE0436 Sakhekile Dyantyi Masiphumelele Masiphumelele 084 960 7572  
12 SANE0146 Angie Whitehead Northern Suburbs Parow 021 939 0467 021 937 1940 072 242 4334 angie.whitehead{at}
13 SANE1025 Connections Philippi Connections Philippi 021 371 3018 021 371 2909 info{at}
14 SANE0009 Karen Jordi South Peninsula Glencairn to Noordhoek 072 387 5661 jordik{at}
15 SANE0292 Elfi Tomlinson South Peninsula Kalk Bay 021 788 7842 021 788 7842 083 703 3878 elfitom{at}
16 SANE0127 Debbie Bub South Peninsula Kommetjie 021 785 4664 deb-bub{at}
17 SANE0010 Beau Horgan South Peninsula Noordhoek 021 789 2494 021 789 2494 beau{at}
18 SANE0098 Heidi-Jayne Hawkins South Peninsula Welcome Glen 021 650 2442 084 951 5535 hhawkins{at}
19 SANE0045 SANE Southern Suburbs Kenilworth 021 762 5933 sane{at}
20 SANE0046 Vicky Richter Southern Suburbs Kenwyn 021 761 2256 021 797 3660 073 168 4748 vicky{at}
21 SANE0035 Unwembi Southern Suburbs Newlands 021 683 4515 083 354 9374 ces{at}
22 SANE0022 Len Stern Southern Suburbs Rondebosch 021 689 4239 lenstern{at}
23 SANE0002 Tim Jenkin Southern Suburbs Rosebank 021 685 4741 021 683 4515 083 354 9374 tim{at}
24 SANE0534 Kim Fourie Tableview Ysterplaat 021 510 5261 021 534 0460 083 993 4580 kim.fourie{at}


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.