Media Statement: Case for Sport reveals R8.8b contribution to Province's GDP | Western Cape Government


Media Statement: Case for Sport reveals R8.8b contribution to Province's GDP

8 July 2019


A long-term study has found that sport participation has the ability to improve socio-economic conditions in the Western Cape and currently makes a significant contribution to the province’s economy.

The study, The Case for Sport, was undertaken by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) in partnership with the University of the Western Cape’s Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence for Sport Science and Development (ICCESSD).

On Friday, 5 July 2019, the findings were presented to Minister Anroux Marais, Head of Department Brent Walters and a host of stakeholders, following the conclusion of the second phase of research.

The first phase of the Case for Sport study began in 2012, and since then statistical data and qualitative information have been drawn from a range of sources, inclusive of questionnaires with 123 sport federations across the province, desktop research, interviews with experts and reviewing commissioned research by the Bureau of Economic Research, case studies and storytelling initiatives.    

On Friday, Professor Christo de Coning, Senior Researcher at the ICCESSD, announced that research had shown that sport has contributed in excess of 2.2% of the Western Cape Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or R8.8 billion, since 2012.

According to the findings, the sport sector also supports 60 000 jobs in the province and has the potential to increase economic growth and tourism.

The study also looked at the social impact of sport in the province. Mr Walters said the findings could ensure “that there will always be support from government and the private sector for this area of human endeavour. We see the role of sport and recreation as far greater than us just sending teams to compete. We see it as something to keep our young people safe, to keep them gainfully occupied, to give them hope where there is no hope and to make sure that they have role models to look up to”.

During the presentation, Minister Marais said the study would inform future policy decisions and that she hoped it would impact provincial budget allocations. "The evidence-based research now makes it possible to make informed decisions at an executive level and will certainly assist us in reviewing current policy to be redeveloped with maximum citizen impact in mind. There is no doubt in my mind that those seasoned in the DCAS portfolio can agree that there exists a disconnect between the positive impact of sport and the budget often allocated to its programmes. This comprehensive research now physically motivates for increased support, not only for sport and recreation but cultural affairs as well,” she said.

Some of the core findings of the research included:

  • Compared to the previous Case for Sport statistics from the 2012/ 2013 Survey, the 2016/ 2017 statistics show a significant increase of 21.5% for the same sport categories recorded previously, and an increase of 51.8% when the new categories of registered sport participants (registered gym members) are also added. To put into perspective, the total number of sport participants increased from 326, 925 registered participants in 2012/2013 to 678,068 in 2016/2017, an increase of 351,143 participants
  • Strong evidence exists and prescribes that sport and recreation make a substantive and significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the province in real terms.  The research showed the benefits of sport for socio-economic development are largely underestimated, and that sport and recreation should be viewed as an important economic contributor and employment creator.
  • Sport and recreation in the province are closely linked with sport and cultural events and the environment acts as a pull-factor for tourism and the hospitality industry.  The Western Cape has a competitive edge in offering mega and large sport and recreation events as a destination and the further implementation of the Provincial Events Strategy is seen as a priority.
  • Various sporting types hold significant potential for future growth, social development and a need exists to do a more detailed analysis of the various economic systems that are involved. Other than the large and popular spectator sport types such as rugby, cricket and soccer, it was found that a critical mass of minority sport types hold substantive economic power and potential and warrant further attention.
  • The recreation field is hugely underestimated: A need exists for improved organisation and a better understanding of the meaning and scope of a variety of important recreation types.
  • Sport and recreation have a major impact on social development and impacts positively on health, education, human and social capital, and especially the youth. In another local research study by UCT researchers, it has now been proven that increased activity improves health and reduces health costs. The research has shown that sport and recreation act as a significant vehicle for skills training and education and various NGOs and the MOD programme are making a significant difference in this respect.
  • Participation rates of learners in physical activity at school in sport and recreation in the Province was the worst in the country in 2008. According to the Medical Research Council, youth at risk in the intermediary and high risk category totaled 36% of the province’s youth. The poor rate of participation by women, standing at 66% not active, requires particular urgent attention.
  • Sport and recreation make a substantive contribution to building social and human capital and by increasing the resilience of communities through increased community mobilisation and organisation. Social capital development has improved the psycho-social behaviour of children, through interventions like the MOD centres and have improved trust, social relationships, learners’ confidence and social collaboration.

Minister Marais, together with the Executive Managing Team have prioritised addressing the recommendations noted in the study. These include:

  • Government to facilitate the development of a strategic provincial research and policy agenda on sport and recreation, also to stimulate funding and coordinated multi-year research programmes. It is recommended that ‘The Case for Sport’ research be prioritized by government and that DCAS identify specific priorities for the attention of research, strategic planning and Monitoring and Evaluation;
  • It is recommended that ‘The Case for Sport’ research be further developed and that specific studies be commissioned to focus on priority areas
  • Discussions continue with the national Department of Sport and Recreation to ensure that a Service Agreement be entered into with Statistics South Africa to ensure that important baseline information is available.
  • It is also recommended that a typology for recreation be developed and that a specific study be undertaken on the different types of recreation in the Western Cape, their participation rates, as well as the scope of these activities.

These findings now serve as the catalyst needed for progression in realising our vision of a socially inclusive, active and connected Western Cape. This collaboration shows in real terms that we are indeed Better Together and through this innovative partnership we have strengthened our resolve to create an enabling environment to the benefit of all who call the Western Cape home through sport and recreation.

The Executive Summary is available online for further detail and a copy of the Case For Sport is available upon request.

Media Enquiries: 
Stacy McLean

Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
083 504 1171