• Francis Howes Department of Social Work, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa



The Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation in the Western Cape sees itself as
the lead Department for social capital formation. (Department of Social Services and Poverty
Alleviation, 2005:5). The said Department accepts the following definition of social capital:
“Social capital refers to the strengthening and establishment or networks, relationships, norms
and values that contribute to the building of social cohesion, racial integration and the
strengthening of a social safety net during times of crisis (economic, natural and other). It is
not an end in itself, but a means to an end” (Department of Social Services and Poverty
Alleviation, 2005:23). Putnam (2000:19) makes the following statement: “social capital refers
to connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and
trustworthiness that arises from them. In that sense social capital is closely related to what
some have called ‘civic virtue’. The difference is that ‘social capital’ calls attention to the fact
that civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a dense network of reciprocal social
relations. A society of many virtuous but isolated individuals is not necessarily rich in social
capital.” Social capital is thus of pivotal importance in the provincial and national agenda of
fostering social cohesion and social inclusiveness


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How to Cite

Howes, F. (2014). SOCIAL CAPITAL, SUPPORT NETWORKS AND BLACK ELDERLY PERSONS. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 43(2).