Project Biographies

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)

Project: Public Perception Tracker (“GCIS Tracker”)

Methodology: Quantitative, household interviews, monthly tracking study

Sample: 72,000 interviews overall

Years: 2010-2015

The GCIS part of the Presidency. It is responsible for leading strategic communication in government. Its role is increasingly critical in the current social, economic, and political climate where the government needs to be responsive to the needs of South Africans.


GCIS has run a national tracking study since 2000. This study seeks to track the ‘mood of the nation’, key government performance indicators, and communication programmes, products and channels.


Citizen Surveys was awarded the contract for its national tracking study between 2010 until April 2015 and tasked with improving the sample design, redeveloping the tracking tool and building a segmentation model. The Citizen Surveys segmentation model segmented the South African population and was used to inform, measure and track government performance and communications


Project: Mobile Tracker

Methodology: Quantitative, household interviews, monthly tracking study

Sample: 94,600 interviews so far

Years: 2010-2017

The Mobile tracking survey provides a detailed and ongoing view of the dynamics of the cellular market, and tracks comparative market share and revenue share, sales channels, market penetration, customer satisfaction, data usage, advertising effectiveness, multi-SIM usage, the youth and school children markets, customer risk, and acquisition and churn.


The mobile tracker survey informs all communication and programmes of MTN and forms the basis of the customer segmentation model. It also provides strategy and performance indicators for MTN at all levels.


Citizen Surveys designed the sample and the methodology. Every month a national sample of 1,200 households are surveyed on a face-to-face basis, using CAPI.

South African Tourism

Project: Domestic Tourism Study

Methodology: Quantitative, household interviews, monthly tracking study

Sample: 110,000 interviews so far

Years: 2007-2017

The Domestic Travel Survey is a national continuous tracking survey for South African Tourism. The main purpose of the study is to measure the contribution of domestic travel to the South African economy. The survey examines variable such as “trips”, “travellers”, “spend” and “bed nights”.


The information is used for national statistics purposes and the design and methodology has been endorsed by Stats SA. The monthly national sample is 1,300 and the annual dataset consist of 15,600 cases.


Citizen Surveys designed the sample and the methodology. Every month a national sample of 1,300 households are surveyed on a face-to-face basis, using CAPI.

Foundation for Human Rights

Project: SEJA Baseline Survey on Awareness of, Attitudes and Access to Constitutional Rights

Methodology: Quantitative, household interviews

Sample: 24,897 interviews

Years: 2016-2017

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD) in partnership with the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) implemented a multi-year programme called “Socio-Economic Justice for All” (SEJA).


This programme is premised on a rights-based approach to the long-term eradication of poverty, in which people living in poverty are empowered to assert their constitutional rights.


The study seeks to develop a better understanding of people’s awareness of, and access to, their human and constitutional rights. This information informs the development of activities that promote citizens’ awareness of their rights and promote participatory democracy.


The study was conducted over a period of three months, from October to December 2016, and comprised 24 897 interviews from across South Africa. Noteworthy, was that the exact houses the interviewers had to visit were preselected before they went into field. This significantly increased the complexity of the study


Project: Member satisfaction survey

Methodology: Quantitative, telephonic interviews

Sample: 10,000 interviews

Years: 2012-2015

The Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) was registered in 2005 as a restricted membership medical scheme to specifically meet the healthcare needs of the Public Service. It currently boasts approximately 600,000 principal members and more than 1.6-million beneficiaries, with an estimated 8,500 new members joining monthly.


In 2012, GEMS commissioned Citizen Surveys to undertake a three-year member satisfaction survey to measure and track customer satisfaction across benefit options, communication channels, and customer service to identify and prioritise areas for improvement. The annual sample consisted of approximately 3,300 interviews. The results of this survey were used to improve levels of service and member satisfaction.

National Department of Tourism

Project: Transformation of Tourism Sector

Methodology: Quantitative, telephonic, business interviews, audits, scorecard calculations.

Sample: 1,500 interviews

Years: 2010-2011

South African’s tourism industry subscribes to an industry charter, which sets transformation targets aligned with the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice.  This study sought to create a baseline against which future transformation could be measured.


The survey required the creation of a single clean database of 46120 tourism enterprises which could be used to draw a stratified sample. This was a significant undertaking given that 11 stakeholder databases needed merging and cleaning.


Telephonic interviews were conducted with the managers/owners of 1,500 tourism enterprises. Furthermore, the results were verified and audited against supporting documentation. The final report reconciled the results against the charter indicators and proposed a strategy for how transformation could be accelerated.

US State Department, Office of Opinion Research

Project: Project Public

Methodology: Quantitative, household interviews

Sample: 28,080

Years: 2004-2017

Citizen Surveys has been working with the Office of Opinion Research of the U.S. Department of State for 11 years. Our collaboration began in 2004 when we conducted a public opinion survey on democracy and governance in South Africa.


In 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 we tracked the attitudes of South African citizens toward the political landscape and social issues, as well as opinion of the United States and its various development programmes. This sample typically consisted of between 2,000 – 2,400 households per wave.


The information was used to form an accurate picture of South Africa, its development needs and investor risks.

Department of Higher Education and Training

Project: Education and Emancipation Study

Methodology: Quantitative, intercept interviews with students

Sample: 9,534 interviews

Years: 2014-2017

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is concerned with the lack of transformation and high drop-out rates at South African Universities. This study was commissioned via the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) to investigate this issue.


This study interviewed a total of 9,534 students across 9 urban and rural universities in South Africa. A time-consuming ethical and security clearance process was followed to gain campus access.


The results clearly identified the types of discrimination certain students were facing and the risk factors that needed to be overcome. The findings provide insight into the strategies that the universities and department of education could use to manage this problem.


Project: Afrobarometer Study

Methodology: Quantitative, household interviews

Sample: 9,600 interviews

Years: 2002-2014

The Afrobarometer is an independent, non-partisan research project that measures the social, political and economic atmosphere in Africa. The project conducts a comparative series of national public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, civil society and government services in more than 35 African countries. These findings are not only used for academic purposes, but to engage with media and citizens about the levels of democracy in their countries. This study has achieved significant social impact in many countries.


Citizen Surveys managed the South African component of this study between 2002 and 2014, and helped strengthen the Afrobarometer study.


Centre for Social Science Research

Project: Cape Area Panel Study

Methodology: Quantitative, panel study, household interviews, biometrics, blood tests.

Sample: 9,600 interviews

Years: 2004-2009

The Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS) is a longitudinal tracking survey that followed the same set of 4,800 young adults drawn from about 3,300 households into adulthood. The study provided rich longitudinal data on the lives and wellbeing of these young adults and examined issues such as education, health, support structures, social capital, and financial wellbeing.


There were two complexities in this study. The first was to track down the young adults and their families each year, as they may have moved elsewhere, and changed their contact details or names. The second were the biometric test (height, weight etc.) and blood tests (for HIV tests) that needed to be taken. This study operated within strict ethical protocols.


Project: Business Survey

Methodology: Quantitative, interviews (telephonic, face-to-face, online), data verification

Sample: 2000 SMME interviews, 790 corporate interviews

Years: 2009-2010

The MTN Business Survey investigated the size, characteristics and needs of the SMME and corporate markets for internet and communication technology (ICT).


This survey used a mixed method of face-to-face, telephonic and online interviews. The owners/managers of the SMMEs were interviewed, while for the corporate interviews we interviewed the IT, financial and HR managers. Furthermore, the findings were verified in terms of available documentation.


The results of this survey were weighted to a sample frame of businesses in South Africa. Furthermore, SMME and corporate segmentation models were built, and this enabled an evidence-based strategy to be recommended for MTN Business.

Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM)

Project: Community Satisfaction Survey

Methodology: Quantitative, household interviews

Sample: 10,500 interviews

Years: 2008-2010

In 2008, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality commissioned Citizen Surveys to develop three-year household satisfaction tracking survey to provide updated information on the levels of service delivery and service quality to its residents.


This study interviewed the household heads and provided detailed information on household demographics, civic engagement, service levels (e.g. sanitation, policing, water and electricity) and communication with the municipal offices.


The findings enabled us to benchmark municipal service levels and track performance against its performance plans. This helped support the municipality to improve service delivery.

Various universities, think-tanks and non-profits

Project: South African Citizens Report

Methodology: Quantitative, household interviews

Sample: 28,300 interviews so far

Years: 2015-2017

Citizen Surveys has designed and developed a pro bono national omnibus study to enable researchers from academic institutions and non-profit organizations to access and publish information on current hot topics and issues affecting South Africa, at no cost.


The study consists of a national monthly survey of 1,300 households. Issues covered include the lived poverty, the state of the SA economy, student protests, perceptions of government performance, party affiliation, the municipal elections, protest action and approval of key political leadership.


Many of the results of this survey have been published in national newspapers, academic papers and even used for advocacy purposes.

University of Copenhagen

Project: South African Municipal Study

Methodology: Quantitative, household interviews

Sample: 3210 interviews

Years: 2016

The Copenhagen Business School is interested in public opinion, voter trends and behaviour surrounding the 2016 municipal elections, a very significant time in South Africa given the decline in support for the ruling ANC.


Fieldwork commenced directly after the Municipal Elections (3 August 2016) and took place over the course of 6 weeks. Household interviews were conducted throughout the South Africa.


The study tapped into a plethora of public perception issues with notable focus on the perceptions and attitudes of South African citizens towards a range of voting issues, as well as towards redistribution and vote-buying in South Africa. Experimental design questions were included in the study to enhance our understanding of voter behaviour and vote buying.

Department of Community Safety

Project: Community Safety Survey

Methodology: Quantitative and qualitative, household interviews, focus groups

Sample: 3,500 interviews, 35 focus groups

Years: 2009-2011

The Department of Community Safety was concerned with the high levels of fear in certain communities in Cape Town that continued to increase, even though crime had decreased. It was also needed insight from gangster- and drug-ridden communities about community dynamics, crime hotspots and policing priorities.


Household interviews were carried out in these communities; in some cases, a police escort was required. The heads of community police forums (CPFs) and community leaders were also interviewed. Finally, we conducted focus groups with a cross section of community members, who also collaborated on detailed community maps detailing specific problem areas (e.g. drug houses, “shebeens”, poor lighting, places with high rape incidents).


The insights from this survey were compared with official crime stats, collated and packaged so that it could be distributed to police sector offices and police stations in the areas concerned. An online dashboard was also designed.