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 opens
  2. Markets: Christmas market in Retreat
  3. Report: New Economics for Social Change
  4. New groups: Two more New Zealand groups join the CES
  5. Statistics: Growth of the CES
  6. CTTE Group statistics: November 2005
  7. Web Site: New features
  8. Tip: How to make sense of the statistics
  9. Theory: Change your money, change your world.
  10. Administration: CTTE Local Area Co-ordinators

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Back issues

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The Talent Exchange — where your wealth is your talent

1. News: SANE Talent Shop opens

The first SANE Talent Shop opened on Saturday 19 November. Vanessa Witbooi, the Director of SANE, welcomed a small group of eager shoppers and explained that although the opening of the first shop was a small event, it heralded the beginning of a 'chain' of Talent Shops that will be opened in the coming year.

The grand opening took place at the shop, which is located in the SANE offices in Kenilworth. Please visit the shop if you are in the area and bring along anything that you want to sell. You can also use the shop as a place to advertise your services. There is a notice board where you can place advertisements about your services and you can also leave brochures and pamphlets. The shop is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.

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

Talent Shop: 1st Floor, 1 Haven House, 2 Mains Avenue, 7764 Kenilworth, Cape Town.

2. Markets: Christmas Gift Market in Retreat - Saturday 10 December

Here's a reminder about the CHRISTMAS GIFT MARKET to be held on SATURDAY 10 December.

WHERE: SANTA Hall, c/o White and Main Rds, Retreat.
TIME: 12noon - 4pm

WHY a Christmas Gift market? Well it's that time of year again and why not avoid the crazy crowded rush of traffic and shopping malls by buying gifts in a relaxed, customer and pocket-friendly context?

Also, there are many members of the CES who make beautiful, delicious, and/or useful items at home as hobbies or simply on a scale too small to bother with the expense of established Rand-based markets and shops, so please do support them. You might find something really special that you wouldn't be able to afford if paying cash.

The focus is on special things to be given as gifts, but anyone is WELCOME TO TRADE ANYTHING they want to. Tables are filling up fast, so PLEASE BOOK YOUR TABLE NOW, at T20 per table.

We will be providing some ENTERTAINMENT, SECURE PARKING, AND A GIFT-WRAPPING SERVICE. Apart from items for sale, some people will also be offering PSYCHIC READINGS, MASSAGES, AND OTHER RELAXING TREATMENTS, so even if you've already done your Christmas shopping, COME AND PAMPER YOURSELF for a change.

Come to the market, celebrate Human Rights' Day by supporting the Community Exchange System with your feet!


Tel: 021 510 5261/083 993 4580 (Kim); 072 272 9618 (Jane)

3. Report: New Economics for Social Change

In the last issue of Community Exchange News we announced that SANE had embarked on a project to take the CES to disadvantaged communities. So far the CES has been introduced to two such communities, with more planned for the New Year. The two communities are Masiphumelele (near Fish Hoek/Kommetjie) and Harare (in Khyelitsha).

Starting at the beginning of October in Masiphumelele, twenty residents attended a week-long New Economics for Social Change course that culminated in a local market day on 8 October. Later in the month the same course was given to over twenty eager students at Kuyasa Primary School in Khayelitsha, also culminating in a market day.

The purpose of the course is to bring an understanding to the participants of the problems associated with conventional money and their manifestation in mainstream economics. The participants were introduced to the idea of a complementary currency and as soon as local branch offices have been established trading in these areas will commence.

The branch offices that will be established in each area will serve as nodes where local residents will be able to interface with the Cape Town Talent Exchange. The offices will double up as local Talent Shops.

In the New Year the New Economics for Social Change course will be taken to other disadvantaged areas where hopefully the Talent Exchange will take hold.

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

4. New groups: Two more New Zealand groups join the CES

Two more New Zealand LETS group have joined the CES, bringing the total in that country to 11. This time it is the Wairau Inter-Trading Green System Inc and the Thames Green Dollar Exchange. We welcome these new groups to the CES fold. Let's hope that one day soon some of us will be able to pay for our accommodation there with Talents and some of them will visit South Africa. All we have to do now is work out how get our respective airlines onto the CES!

5. Statistics: Growth of the CES

There are now (7 December 2005) 3,931 members of the Community Exchange System (including the international groups). There are 31 separate groups. The Cape Town Talent Exchange is the largest with 1,488 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 537 4582 13 820283.15 167.05
Total 1488 10474 10 1549598.49 134.75

* As at 7 December 2005

6. CTTE Group statistics: November 2005

The total value traded during November increased over October, despite there being no markets. Trading seems to have hit a plateau for the time being, indicating that new members are replacing older members who are no longer trading, keeping overall trading at more or less the same level. This suggests that much more needs to be done to ensure that older members do not leak away.

At the end of November 2005:

Trader Statistics:

Total members: 1482 Total traders: 875
% of members who have traded: 59.04 % of members who have not traded: 40.96
Total sellers: 519 Seller/buyer ratio: 0.65
% of members who have sold: 35.02 % of traders who have sold: 59.31
# of sellers who have bought 442 # of sellers who have not bought: 77
Total buyers: 798 Buyer/seller ratio: 1.54
% of members who have bought: 53.85 % of traders who have bought: 91.2
# of buyers who have sold: 442 # of buyers who have not sold: 356
Trading Statistics
Total # of sales: 10425 Total # of purchases: 10425
Total income: 1530015.89 Total expenditure: 1530015.89
Income/expenditure less levies: 1443336.95 Overall balance: 0.00
Treasury Statistics
Total revenue: 86678.94 Transferred to Admin: 80906.50
# of levy payments: 7698 Current Treasury balance: 5772.44

Member statistics:

Individuals: 1231
Families: 60
Companies: 85
Organisations: 56
Virtuals: 30
Public: 4
Administrators: 1
Total: 1482

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
October 2005 620 80610.51 121.06 5555.32 1365780.07 1446698.89
November 2005 528 83487.64 147.19 5772.76 1443494.95 1530186.53
Total: 10426 T1530186.53 T146.77 T86691.58    
Excluding levy: T1443494.95 T138.45  

7. Web Site: New features

Advertising Wants in remote groups

If you require accommodation in Joburg or the Wilderness, for example, advertise your need on the Wants List of the remote Exchanges. A new feature on the web site allows you to post your Wants to the lists of remote groups. It is very easy to do this. When you are adding a new want, simply select the remote group from the 'Add to Group' drop-down list. This will post your want to the chosen remote group's Wants List where members of the remote group will be able to see it.

Advertise your Offerings in remote groups

If you have offerings that make sense when advertised in other places—such as accommodation, editing, graphic design, programming, web sites, advice etc—then why not advertise them on the Offerings Lists of remote groups. This way you can widen your 'market' and draw on many more potential buyers. To advertise your offerings in remote groups, click on the [Offerings] button and then on the [Add Offering] button. Select the remote group from the 'Add to Group' drop-down list and then fill in the form in the same way as you would when posting a local offering.

View the Offerings of new members

Are you interested to see what new members are offering? There is now a quick way to see the offerings added by members who have joined the Talent Exchange in the past week. Go to the [Offerings] page and at the bottom left of the category list you will see a new item, 'Offerings of New Members'. Click on that and you will see the offerings added by the new members.

CES on your cellphone

It is now possible to access the CES with your cellphone! A new GPRS interface is the first of three ways you will be able to access your account using a cellphone. To be introduced in the New Year will be an SMS interface and a WAP interface. The current interface that is already working, though still under construction, requires that you have a cellphone that is GPRS and Java enabled. Most modern phones have both. With your WAP browser you need to download the new Opera Mini browser from Once you have this installed your cellphone can browse to any web site in the world. Obviously you lose a lot of detail if you browse to a complex web site such as the CES web site at To simplify matters we have developed an entirely new web site that you can access with your cell phone. The address from your phone is You are required to log in as usual and then you are presented with a menu of options. Currently you can enter trades and search for offerings. As the site develops you will be able to do most things that you can do on the full-blown site, though functionality will be cut down.

If you require any assistance in setting up, contact Tim at 021 762 5933 or write to .

8. Tip: How to make sense of the statistics

Have you ever looked at the 'This Group' page? Here you will find a wealth of statistical information about the Cape Town Talent Exchange. Each button on this page presents you with a different table of information about your group. All information is generated on the fly, meaning that it is real-time information.

Use this page too if you want to find out more about your buyers. You might not want to trade with a particular buyer if figures reveal that the person is abusing the system - taking a lot and not giving much back.

In combination with the sub-area filter on the home page you can find some very interesting statistical information about the CTTE. Select a particular sub area and then look at the figures again, in particular the Member Balances. This will show you the relative trading position of the sub area. You will be able to see which sub areas are in general deficit and which are in surplus - in other words which sub areas are taking more than they are giving and which sub areas are 'subsidising' others.

9. Theory: Change your money, change your world

How often do you get that feeling of hopelessness and helplessness when considering the state of our world? Who is it that defines and controls the direction of social progress? Who decides that we should stay on the highway of infinite growth, that human happiness and well-being is dependent on the consumption of every greater quantities of resources and energy. Why is it that our social problems worsen all the time, our environment gets more and more polluted, our planet warms inexorably, resources get depleted inevitably and nothing seems to get done about it?

Politicians, economists, trade unionists and social commentators prescribe every day that economic growth is the solution to all our problems: more investment, more industry, more jobs, more, more, more... The logic is simplistic. We have a growing population and an economic cake. If the cake is not big enough then some are going to go hungry, so we need to have a bigger cake to ensure everyone gets their slice. Why does this cake never seem to satisfy, irrespective of its size? Why does the cake taste more bitter all the time?

The usual explanation for our woes is couched in terms of defective social, political, governmental and economic institutions. All we need to do is sort out these institutions, and alongside a growing, flourishing economy everything will come right. No one stops for a moment to question this prescription in the light of the obvious fact that you can't have infinite growth in a finite world. The world is slowly becoming aware of resource depletion, especially the issue of peak oil which, even according to the most optimistic experts, is only a few years away; global warming is causing serious environmental problems all over the world; environmentalists tell us of the great extinction taking place and the loss of biodiversity; and we can see for ourselves that our air is polluted, our roads are clogged and the number of beggars at traffic lights is increasing by the day. Yet the only prescription is more of the same!

What can we do about all this? Should we protest, form organisations to lobby the 'powers that be', write articles to expose wrongdoings, go on strike, go into hiding or just live it out? Is there something that we can do that does not depend on 'them'?

At the basis of every society is its economy, and at the basis of every economy is its money system. Conventional economics does not see it like this for it treats money as just one of the basic factors of economic life. Money is money just like the other factors, land, labour and capital, and therefore also a scarce resource. Enormous economic assumptions are made using this conception of money and it is out of these assumptions that many of our problems arise.

Conventional economics assumes that money is 'stuff', a 'thing', which like all things has to be created and then distributed. There is therefore a quantity of it that has to be restricted and controlled. Because it is 'stuff' it is subject to the same laws of supply and demand as other stuff. And like any other stuff it must have a value in itself, a value that can go up and down in relation to other things. And because it is a thing it can be possessed, collected, accumulated and withdrawn from circulation. It can be stolen, lost, traded and lent. If someone has some and another has none, the former can lend it to the latter and ask for more back when they return it. The person who borrows it has to work extra hard to return the original amount and the little bit extra. In this way the borrower works for the lender.

Getting this money stuff is not directly related to the delivery of real goods and services. There are a multitude of ways of getting hold of it, some of which do involve the delivery of real goods and services. For most of us the only way to get hold of it is to sell our labour to someone. This is called a job and most of us work in these jobs, not because we love the work or even because the work is socially necessary, but because we need to get hold of the money stuff. Without it we're in serious trouble. Those who have lots of money have to find a way of keeping that money and, hopefully, increasing it. They do that by 'investing' the money in something that will bring in a return. That could involve investing it in machinery that can be used to create real wealth, but there are other ways of investing money that will ensure a greater return.

One of these is by providing the money supply itself. Conventional economics assumes that the money supply is just there, much like the air we breathe. Most of us believe it is there because the government, or the Reserve Bank more specifically, provides it as a public service. This is not so. We have money because private, profit-making institutions (banks) provide it as a business service. The money we use is thus not a neutral mechanism provided to us purely for the benefit of facilitating exchange. All our money is lent into existence and it comes into circulation because banks want to make a profit through the interest that borrowers have to pay for using it. At the time that the banks create the money (as debt) they do not create sufficient to pay back the interest. Bank debt money is thus always in chronic short supply. The only way that this money system can keep going is if there is a constant expansion of bank debt money, an expansion rate that is greater than the amount needed to pay back the principal plus the interest. This is the force that drives our economies and why every economic agent and entity calls for more growth.

The growth-at-all-costs economies that we are saddled with are sitting atop a growth-or-collapse money system. It is thus the money system that it is at the root of our problems, forcing economic growth and causing the environmental and resource depletion problems that we face.

Calling for more economic growth is not going to solve our problems, it will only worsen them. What we need to do is create a money system that is not dependent on constant expansion or it collapses. Reform of the current money system is one route but the forces that sustain it are too powerful and have too much invested in it to countenance any fiddling. After all, the current setup ensures that that there is a constant transfer of wealth from the producers to themselves.

As it is not possible to challenge the conventional money system the only other option is to try to create a new one, and with it a new economy. The CES is an attempt to create a new money system, one that does not require constant expansion apart from the real expansion of available goods and services. CES money does not 'exist' like conventional money and therefore it does not need to be created and distributed. It can never be scarce. CES 'money' is just a score keeping, much like the score on the scoreboard at a game of soccer or cricket. There can never be a shortage of 'scores' for the score is just a record of our relative positions in the 'game' of buying and selling. This is what conventional money is supposed to do too, but very long ago people discovered that they could take advantage of it by collecting it, ensuring that others had difficulty getting hold of it and then lending it to them for profit.

A healthy money system is one that is not driven by profit making, that is not out of kilter with the goods and services available and that is not controlled by a handful of institutions for their own benefit. It is one that is owned and controlled by those who use it. It is democratic money that returns to the people the power of money.By creating our own money system we will gain the power to determine our own destinies and not be left feeling at the mercy of 'them'.

10. 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
2 SANE0043 Raymond Mcinga Cape Flats Mitchells Plain 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 Woodstock 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 SANE0966 Aubrey Dampies Delft Delft 021 954 1613 084 251 1835
9 SANE0485 Liza Johnson Durbanville Durbanville 072 234 9595
10 SANE0448 Jeremy & Jacqui Wakeford Hout Bay Hout Bay 021 790 8558 021 650 2982 083 414 7393
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
13 SANE1025 Connections Philippi Connections Philippi 021 371 3018 021 371 2909
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 SANE0045 SANE Southern Suburbs Kenilworth 021 762 5933
20 SANE0046 Vicky Richter Southern Suburbs Kenwyn 021 761 2256 021 797 3660 073 168 4748
21 SANE0035 Unwembi Southern Suburbs Newlands 021 683 4515 083 354 9374
22 SANE0022 Len Stern Southern Suburbs Rondebosch 021 689 4239
23 SANE0002 Tim Jenkin Southern Suburbs Rosebank 021 685 4741 021 683 4515 083 354 9374
24 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.