Centre for International & Comparative Politics
The South African Elite Study
Project Des​cription

Principal Investigator: Prof Hennie Kotzé


The Centre for International and Comparative Politics (CICP) has over the past decade conducted an in-depth analysis of the social, political, and economic transformation that has taken place in South Africa. A longitudinal study on the attitudes and values of the country’s opinion-leaders have formed one of the core elements of this project. Since 1990 seven opinion-leader surveys (1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2007 and 2013) have enabled the project leader to build up an extensive database on South African elite perspectives.


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, analysis and findings will in future allow us to place South Africa in an international context in relation to both developing and developed nations. The 2007 and 2013 Opinion Leader Surveys also drew to a large 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.