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‘No Messing in Bonteheuwel’: The role of social capital and partnership building in sustainable community development

Wilmot Arendse
Z Patel


This article focuses on a community-development programme (case study) in Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats,  viz. ‘No Messing in Bonteheuwel’. In a period of just over a decade, this community has transitioned from a  degraded natural, built and social environment to one where the community have cohered to realise a vision of a place of which they are currently proud. This case study adds to the understanding of sustainable community development, by tracing the transition from a vicious to a virtuous cycle of community development. The  development of social capital within the community, coupled with the development of partnerships and the  building of trust with local government, have been identified as key ingredients in this transition. The benefits derived from the current virtuous cycle for the Bonteheuwel community as well as local government are  demonstrated. This article contributes towards the understanding of how to foster sustainable communities,  and is, therefore, of relevance to local governments and policy-makers.