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Churches as a Stock of Social Capital for Promoting Social Development in Western Cape Communities

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The aim of the article is to present a perspective on the manner and extent to which churches may be considered as an important stock of social capital for promoting social development outcomes in selected communities in the Western Cape, South Africa. Taking the recently presented policy outline on social capital formation in this province as the contextual framework for analysis and reflection, the results of recently executed demographic and socio-empirical research are utilised in particular to advance a perspective on churches. It is argued in conclusion that churches and other faith-based organisations in the researched communities have an important strategic significance for a social capital formation agenda, despite their apparent lack of progressive social praxis. Their comparative advantage over other institutions, the considerable levels of trust invested in them and the manner in which they inspire activities of voluntary outreach, caring and social service are highlighted as special features of the churches.

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