The role of the state in sport for development: A South African scenario

  • C Burnett
Keywords: Sport, mass participation programmes, state, sport for development.


The role of the State in addressing national priorities of development through sport participation gained momentum as governments became signatories of the United Nations’ pledge to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals within the framework of ‘Sport for Development and Peace’. The redress of inequalities brought about by the Apartheid regime (1948-1994) resulted in SRSA (Sport and Recreation South Africa) currently assuming responsibility for sport-fordevelopment. An analysis of the baseline study (2004-2006) of the community-based programme, Siyadlala reflected the delivery on social development. A mixed method approach rendered the triangulation of quantitative and qualitative data in terms of 470 interviews; 479 case studies; 54 different focus group sessions; and 1476 questionnaires that were completed by coordinators and participants and 1040 participants and non-participants (as control group) who completed a self-esteem questionnaire. The sample of 38 communities was identified by provincial departments to represent an ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ hub in each province. The main findings indicate two models of implementation with a substantial increase in the number of
participants (from 1708 to 6267), the number of activities at an average of 5.8 per hub, and an increase in active participation from 8.1 per cent (n=2547, school sport only) to 11.8 per cent (n=3720, added participation due to the programme). The delivery on ‘social development indicators’ reflects an increase in the self-esteem, pro-social behaviour and a reported decrease in ‘soft-fabric’ crimes. Increased participation resulted in (gender) inclusion, despite continued discriminatory practices of ‘space domination’ by male participants. The monthly stipend contributed to the household survival of 42.7 per cent of the activity coordinators, whilst 22.4 per cent coordinators have obtained permanent employment, demonstrating the need for accredited training courses.

Key words: Sport, mass participation programmes, state, sport for development.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939