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29 July 2019
The Case for Sport in the Western Cape

(Published - 29 July 2019)

The Case for Sport in the Western Cape study was launched at the University of Western Cape (UWC). This extensive study - the only of its kind in the world - highlights the socio-economic impact of sport in the Western Cape, but the results and findings could be implemented throughout South Africa and even the broader global community.

Professor Marion Keim and Professor Christo de Coning - from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Sport Science and Development (ICSSD) at UWC - conducted the study and presented it to several sport federations at the UWC Library Auditorium on July 25. The research was conducted in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), and local government funded the entire project.

MEC for Sport and Cultural Affairs, Anroux Marais; Chief Director: Sport and Recreation at DCAS, Dr Lyndon Bouah, and UWC Rector and Vice Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, attended the launch.

Marais said the study’s findings would help both civil society and government officials make the right decisions when it comes to formulating and drafting policy. She hopes that future budget discussion will take the findings of the study into serious consideration when allocating public funds.

The study - which involved, among other things, sending questionnaires to 123 sport federations in 2017 - found that sport has contributed R8,8-billion to the Western Cape gross domestic product since 2012. In addition, it was established that the sport sector supports 60 000 jobs in the province.

The number of registered sport participants for federations, 2012/2013, was 

326,925. That number increased by 26% to 413,171 over the period 2016/2017. The study has shown that the involvement of NGOs such as Amandla EduFootball, Grassroots Soccer, Dreamfield and the Foundation for Sport, Development and Peace have aided the development of sport in the Western Cape through the implementation of programmes in close collaboration with government.

More than 368,000 school children have been registered for School Sport by DCAS. 

This brings the total number of registered athletes - including those with gym memberships - to 914,282 in the Western Cape.

It was also found that emerging sport and recreation activities such as online computer gaming, social networking, as well as music and cultural festivals are growing fast and enjoy massive support.

Another pertinent point was a concern about the lack of Physical Education at most schools in the province, as this has a direct impact on the general well-being of children and youth.

More than 77,000 children are involved in the Mass participation; Opportunity and access; Development and growth (MOD) Programme. Participants displayed positive behaviour changes at psychological as well as psycho-social levels.

The MOD Programme was conceptualised to ensure that access to sport is provided in underprivileged schools to correct prevailing inequalities currently experienced within recreation and sport. These inequalities were largely left by the apartheid system. A BMI Sport Info Survey conducted in 2007 found that 66% of white adults participate in sport in South Africa, while only 35% of blacks play sport, 33% of Coloureds and 47% of Asians.

“While the number of youth participating outside of school has increased, largely due to the growth of sports not usually available at school, the majority of youth (51%) still play sport at school. This illustrates the great sporting divide that still plagues South Africa and confirms the importance of providing a sporting chance for school youth. Following the marginalisation of Physical Education in the curriculum, the MOD Programme seeks to reposition sport as an important part of the school day,” the study found.

At the launch, Cape Town Sport Council chairperson, Elton Davids, made reference to the Two Oceans Marathon which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. He highlighted the significance such high profile events hold for communities.

"It is these communities that need to ensure we are staging a world class event, but it is also important that the event provides more job opportunities - both part-time and permanent in nature," Davids said.

"We need to use the findings from the Case for Sport study in order to effectively tie a more permanent notion that sport can and will change the social issues we're battling with on a daily basis. We, the sport federations, are most grateful for the study and to DCAS for funding it. We have only scratched the surface of what we can achieve as civil society. Thank you to Professors Keim and de Coning."

This study earmarks six years of groundbreaking research as well as the 10th year anniversary of the Interdisciplinary Centre of Sport Science and Development at UWC, the only such research centre in the global South.