THE SOUTH AFRICAN ELITE STUDY
Principal investigators: Dr. Steenekamp and Prof. Hennie Kotzé
Overview of the project
The South African Elite Surveys entail a longitudinal study on the attitudes and values of the country’s opinion-leaders. Since 1990 eight opinion-leader surveys (1990,1992,1993,1995,1998,2000,2007 and 2013) have enabled the project leaders to build up an extensive database on South African elite perspectives and conduct an in-depth analysis of the social political, and economic transformation that has taken place in South Africa.
The eight of these surveys, the 2013 Opinion Leader Survey, placed particular emphasis on the quality of democracy in South Africa and the values which underpin the democratic consolidation process. This round and the previous (2007) elite survey had an added component in that it was conducted simultaneously in six other countries, namely Chile, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Turkey and South Korea. Thus, South African elite perspectives were placed in an international context in relation to both developing and developed nations. The 2007 and 2013 Opinion Leader Surveys also drew to a larger extent on the World Values Survey (WVS) questionnaire, which allowed for an elite-mass comparison.
In addition to the extensive database on South African elite perspectives, a survey focusing on the AU and NEPAD was conducted in seven African countries in the second half of 2002 in order to obtain accurate data on what elite perspectives regarding these two initiatives entail. Countries selected for the survey included South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The ninth wave of the South African Political Elite Survey is planned for 2024 in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).