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


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