Making a difference

The National Development Plan (NDP) identifies a series of fault lines which need to be addressed to promote nation building. SASAS is examining many of these issues, including social cohesion; quality of life and living standards; views on democracy and governance and politics. SASAS generates knowledge that is able to inform progress against Government Outcomes: Outcome 3 (Output 4, Manage perceptions of crime among the population); Outcome 12 (part A, Output 1: Service delivery quality and access); and Outcome 12 (part B, Outputs 1-3: Nation Building and National Identity; Citizen Participation; Social Cohesion).

SASAS themes are aligned to the South Africa's 10-Year National Innovation Plan produced by the Department of Science and Technology in 2007. In addition, SASAS informs the four thematic focus areas outlined in the Human and Social Dynamics in Development (HSDD) Grand Challenge Science Plan. For instance, in terms of the theme of Science, Technology and Society, SASAS has been making notable contributions towards the public understanding of science by examining attitudes towards a variety of pertinent topics. These include biotechnology, climate change and the environment, indigenous knowledge systems, scientific knowledge and general attitudes towards science, energy attitudes and behaviour, as well as nuclear energy. The survey content is also closely aligned towards the 14 Strategic Priorities specified in Government’s Medium-Term Strategic Framework.

SASAS produces rigorous trend data about changes in people’s underlying values and has achieved recognition for reliable social indicators and attitudinal measures amongst policy-makers. The survey has demonstrated its utility as an anticipatory or predictive mechanism. It has helped us understand the socio-political climate in which we live our lives and form our views. SASAS has also exposed South African society’s political and cultural divisions (e.g. unequal opportunities and intolerance), as well as enabled policy-makers to detect impending changes in behaviour patterns. There are numerous examples of the policy reach of SASAS data has been used and some prominent examples include are included below.

  • SASAS data was used to determine individual energy poverty and energy-related behaviour for the Department of Energy.
  • It is currently also being used as a source of empirical evidence on financial literacy to help shape the national consumer financial education strategy being prepared by National Treasury.
  • SASAS has been used by the Electoral Commission to evaluate the success of the Commission’s electoral management. SASAS was also used by the Commission to determine if the electoral process during recent government elections were free and fair. The local and national elections under consideration were the 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016 elections.
  • SASAS was used to measure public attitudes towards science, knowledge about science, and sources of information about science. This study was part of the Department of Science and Technology Science Engagement Strategy. In an effort to inform public outreach, the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa used SASAS to provide an overview of public perceptions on various aspects of nuclear technology and energy in the country.

SASAS data has been utilised in a number of presentations to Parliament. For example, in October 2016, SASAS data was presented to Parliament’s High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change. SASAS data has been used for the Presidency’s macro-social review and 15-Year Review (2009). The Presidency also drew on SASAS for the recently completed 20 Year Review. SASAS has been used to inform the National Consumer Financial Education Strategy (NCFES) in 2014. In addition, SASAS was used in the development of a social cohesion barometer for the EU-Presidency Programme to Support Pro-Poor Development (PSPPD) that is being used as an input for the national social cohesion strategy.