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01 September 2023

The 20th round of the SASAS Survey kicks off with an additional voter participation questionnaire

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Human Sciences Research Council

Pretoria, Thursday, 31 August 2023 – The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has launched the 20th round of the South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) in late August 2023. The countrywide survey intends to gather data about South Africans’ attitudes on a wide variety of topics.

The topics cover attitudes pertaining to democracy and governance, service delivery, race relations, crime, moral issues, voting, family-related matters, poverty, the environment and other important indicators in South Africa.

The survey is repeated annually and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the first round of the survey. According to the principal investigator of the study, Dr Benjamin Roberts, the 2023 round of the survey will include a special questionnaire, namely the Voter Participation Survey (VPS) questionnaire.

“This VPS questionnaire will gather data for the Electoral Commission of South Africa ahead of the 2024 elections and will attempt to understand the democratic landscape and people’s voting intentions ahead of the 2024 national election,” said Dr Roberts.   

The aim of the survey and who can participate

The HSRC SASAS survey is a nationally representative, longitudinal, cross-sectional annual survey. Each SASAS round is designed to yield a representative sample of 3,500 individuals aged 16 and older in households, which are geographically spread across the country’s nine provinces.

The primary aim of the survey is to measure and produce rigorous data about public attitudes and behavioural patterns of South Africans, and to determine how attitudes and behaviour have been changing over time.

This time series provides a unique, long-term account of the speed and direction of change in underlying public values and the social fabric of modern South Africa. In addition, the survey attempts to understand how the attitudes and behaviour of South Africans compare with those in other countries through collaboration and strategic partnerships with other cross-national attitudinal survey series.

Duration of the survey

Fieldworkers have started working in the communities, and the survey will continue until early October 2023. The success of the survey depends on people across the country opening their doors and allowing our fieldworkers into their homes to complete the survey.

What does the survey involve?

Before entering areas, the HSRC fieldworkers will report to local police stations and/or seek permission from the local and traditional authorities. They will inform the authorities that they will be working in the area.

Fieldworkers, who will be identifiable by their HSRC-marked bibs and identity cards, will then be deployed to households and will introduce themselves and provide an explanation regarding the purpose of the study.

Once a participant has consented to participate, our fieldworkers will conduct the interview face to face, while completing a questionnaire on a tablet. The fieldworker will assist each respondent to interpret and understand the questions. For ease of interpretation, the survey has been translated into all major language groups in South Africa namely, Afrikaans, Setswana, Sesotho, Sepedi, Tsonga, Tshivenda, IsiXhosa and IsiZulu.

HSRC fieldworkers will only need one hour to complete the survey. All information gathered will be stored securely and in line with the Protection of Personal Information Act.

The HSRC is calling for all South Africans to open their doors for fieldworkers. This survey has made an enormous contribution to understanding the beliefs, desires, fears and preferences of citizens of South Africa.

In June 2017, the survey won the Technology Foundation’s Data for Research award for its contribution to advancing social science knowledge in the country. The survey series is institutionally based in the HSRC’s Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES) research division. 

For more information about the research or if community members are in doubt, they can contact the SASAS coordinators, Dr Benjamin Roberts cell: 084 523 0374 or email: and Dr Jarè Struwig cell: 082 774 5749 or email:


For media enquiries

Dr Lucky Ditaunyane, Cell: 0832276074, Email: Nematandani, Cell: 0827659191, Email:

Notes to the Editor

About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, performing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

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