Recreation service delivery by local governments in the North West Province]
Mogajane, Victor Solomon
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Service delivery in all aspects of life is a major problem facing the local, provincial and national governments in South Africa. Service delivery, in particular recreation as a field intending to better the total quality of life of the people seems not to receive the attention it deserves. From the comprehensive reviewed literature it was revealed that participation in recreation has numerous benefits such as improving personal health, a key determinant to health status. Recreation is a key to balanced human development (in terms of providing life skills such as motor skills, social skills, arts and craft skills). Recreation is essential to quality of life and a sense of place. Recreation reduces self-destructive and anti-social behaviour (antidote to smoking, substance abuse, suicide and depression). Recreation builds strong individuals, families and healthy communities. It reduces health care costs, social services and police and justice costs. Recreation and parks are significant economic generators in the community. Parks and open spaces and natural areas are essential to ecological survival. The aim of the study therefore, was to investigate recreation service delivery by local governments in the North West Province. The study utilised a mixture of two research methods. A combination of two research approaches (qualitative and quantitative methods) was used to collect data in all twenty identified Local Governments within North West Province. The target groups of this study were recruited from the four districts (Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Dr Ruth Mompati, Dr Modiri Molema, and Bojanala districts) consisting of twenty local governments according to the demarcation of the North West Province. The participants within these areas were personnel who are responsible for managing recreation at local government level in the North West Province. Given the nature of this study (quantitative and qualitative methods), the participants comprised of two groups. Group one consisted of twenty personnel from local governments who were requested to complete the quantitative questionnaire. Group 2 was identified during collection of quantitative data to form a focus group consisting of five people. Both the quantitative and focus group findings lent the study an opportunity to recruit recreation specialists and to gather their views regarding recreation service delivery in the local governments. The results of the study from the questionnaires, the focus group and recreation specialists show that there is a lack of strategies regarding recreation provision at the local government level. The results further indicated that human resources working in recreation do not have formal or practical experience in the provision of comprehensive recreation services. In addition, the result of the study indicated differences concerning policy aspects on financing, provision of recreation programmes, coordination, planning and implementation of recreation programmes in the local community, the lease of recreation facilities, the guidelines for the appointment of administrative/supportive services and the use of volunteers. In addition budgets for recreation in local governments are limited and this results in little or no financial aid to recreation bodies, lack of full-time personnel, and absence of volunteers. Local governments also have limited programmes for various target groups such as the youth, and the elderly. It is clear from the results that suitably qualified human resources, lack of recreation facilities, insufficient funding, nonexistent recreation policies and ineffective recreation programmes were major factors affecting recreation service delivery in the local governments in the North West Province. From these findings the present study recommends that: human resources must be provided with proper training such as in-service training or part-time studies available at tertiary institutions; provision of recreation facilities and funding, development of recreation policies as well as development of effective recreation programmes which must be accessible to all the people. An interesting conclusion from the results is that participants as well as the recreation specialists alluded to the lack of coordination and networking among stakeholders as another factor hampering recreation service delivery. As such, the present study recommends that there should be well-established coordination and networking as well as partnership among stakeholders (i.e. Provincial Recreation Council (PROREC), so as to enable speedy delivery of recreation service in local governments. In addition, it can be recommended that for recreation service delivery to happen, local, provincial and national governments should do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis as a means to enable them to have a roadmap to ensure that recreation is more effective. The results of the study warrant further investigations pertaining recreation service delivery either to confirm or refute them.
- Health Sciences