The aims of this research were to study goat production in the rural areas of South Africa and to explore the impact of intervention objectives, namely an increase in kidding percentage and a decrease in kid losses (mortalities, theft and predation) on goat production in subsistence farming systems. A personal interview survey was conducted in three communities in South Africa, namely Jericho (Northwest Province), Bolahlakgomo (Northern Province) and Schoonoord (Northern Province). In each community, traditional purposes and meat consumption were important reasons for keeping goats. Other reasons mentioned were used to characterise the systems and were commercially-orientated in Jericho, social reasons in Bolahlakgomo and of a supportive nature in Schoonoord. The average herd size was 16.2 animals in Jericho, 7.7 animals in Bolahlakgomo and 40.1 animals in Schoonoord. The most important expenses incurred were for veterinary products, while that for feed and veterinary services were relatively low. Most important outputs included the slaughter for home consumption, sale of live animals and ceremonial uses. Mortalities were similar in the three communities; theft was high in Jericho and predation was high in Bolahlakgomo. Economic values based on gross margin calculations were R864 in Jericho, R382 in Bolahlakgomo and R1,569 in Schoonoord. Intervention objectives yielded economic values of R1,887 in Jericho and R934 in Bolahlakgomo. No intervention objectives were proposed for Schoonoord. From this research it is concluded that intervention objectives have different outcomes in different communities. The success of commercialisation of livestock production in general is based on the location of the community, accessibility of knowledge and markets, and production goals of the household.