SASAS was developed with international and local assistance, and modelled on similar long-standing attitudinal survey series, including the National Opinion Research Center’s (NORC) General Social Survey (GSS, est. 1972) in the United States and the National Centre for Social Research’s (NatCen) British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA, est. 1983). The foundations of the HSRC’s programme of work on public opinion and attitudinal research can be found in the 1980s, with the Omnibus survey series, which were subsequently followed in the late 1990s by annualised, nationally representative Evaluation of Public Opinion Programme (EPOP) surveys. In 2002, the HSRC decided on a quality upgrade and reorientation to the series, drawing on international standards for general social and attitudinal surveys.

SASAS is conducted by the Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery programme of the HSRC.

SASAS was initially funded by the HSRC which provided seed funding (2003-2006). After 2006, the survey became self-sustained and had to generate funds on a round-by-round basis.  External funders, in the form of clients, began purchasing modules of questions in SASAS.   A number of government departments, as well as other institutions have provided support to SASAS - some on a once-off basis, but increasingly repeatedly to inform policy. Major government funders and clients have included the Departments of Energy, Science and Technology, Justice, Social Development, Higher Education and Training, Defence and Transport.  Other important funders have been the Electoral Commission, the Financial Services Board, Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa, National Research Foundation, the Presidency-EU Programme to Support Pro-Poor Development, the Open Society Foundation, and the South African Revenue Service.

SASAS Project Structure