Governance Public Safety and Justice Survey 2020-2021
In April 2018, StatsSA launched the Governance Public Safety and Justice Survey (GPSJS) in response to the need for standardised international reporting standards on governance and access to justice that are recommended by the SDGs, ShaSA and Agenda 2063. In compliance with these standards, Stats SA discontinued the separate publication of the Victims of Crime Survey (VCS) and incorporated it within the new GPSJS series. Therefore, the GPSJS represents the new source of microdata on the experience and prevalence of particular kinds of crime within South Africa.
The GPSJS is a countrywide household-based survey which collects data on two types of crimes, namely, vehicle hijacking and home robbery. Business robbery is not covered by the survey. The survey includes information on victimisation experienced by individuals and households and their perspectives on community responses to crime. Additionally, the survey data includes information on legitimacy, voice, equity and discrimination. Therefore, GPSJS data can be used for research in the development of policies and strategies for governance, crime prevention, public safety and justice programmes. The main objectives of the survey are to:
• Provide information about the dynamics of crime from the perspective of households and the victims of crime.
• Explore public perceptions of the activities of the police, prosecutors, courts and correctional services in the prevention of crime and victimisation.
• Provide complimentary data on the level of crime within South Africa in addition to the statistics published annually by the South African Police Service.
NOTE: The GPSJS is a continuation of the VCS series, which ended with VCS 2017/18. Therefore, the VCS 2018/19 can be exctracted from GPSJS 2018/19 and is comparable to previous VCS's only where questions remained the same. Please see Data Quality Notes for more infomation on comparability.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data
Unit of Analysis
Households and individuals
v1: Edited, anonymised dataset for public access
Version 1 of the dataset was downloaded from StatsSA on 8 June 2022 and only included two files: a household file and an individual file.
The GPSJS focuses on people's perceptions and experiences of crime and their views regarding access to, and effectiveness of the police service and criminal justice system. Households are also asked about community responses to crime. The survey profiles different aspects that are inherent in the different types of crime, such as the location and timing of the different crimes, the use of weapons and the nature and extent of the violence that takes place. Additionally, the survey captures demographic characteristics and the main source of household and individual income.
The survey has national coverage.
The lowest level of geographic aggregation covered by the data is province.
The target population of the survey consists of all private households in all nine provinces of South Africa, as well as residents in workers' hostels. The survey does not cover other collective living quarters such as students' hostels, old-age homes, hospitals, prisons and military barracks. It is only representative of non-institutionalised and non-military persons or households in South Africa.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
Government of South Africa
The GPSJS 2020/21 uses the master sample (MS) sampling frame which has been developed as a general-purpose household survey frame that can be used by all other Stats SA household-based surveys having design requirements that are reasonably compatible with GPSJS. The GPSJS 2020/21 collection was drawn from the 2013 master sample. This master sample is based on information collected during Census 2011. In preparation for Census 2011, the country was divided into 103 576 enumeration areas (EAs). The census EAs, together with the auxiliary information for the EAs, were used as the frame units or building blocks for the formation of primary sampling units (PSUs) for the master sample, since they covered the entire country and had other information that is crucial for stratification and creation of PSUs.
There are 3 324 primary sampling units (PSUs) in the master sample with an expected sample of approximately 33 000 dwelling units (DUs). The number of PSUs in the current master sample (3 324) reflect an 8,0% increase in the size of the master sample compared to the previous (2008) master sample (which had 3 080 PSUs). The larger master sample of PSUs was selected to improve the precision (smaller coefficients of variation, known as CVs) of the GPSJS estimates.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Telephone Interview
Data Collection Notes
Since 2013, Stats SA has changed the data collection methodology to continuous data collection. Data is collected from April of the current year to March of the proceeding year. Therefore, the reference period for the experience of crime estimates in the GPSJS 2020/21 is April 2020 to March 2021.
Stats SA suspended face-to-face data collection for all its surveys due the COVID-19 pandemic and restricted movement. Therefore, Stats SA changed the mode of data collection for GPSJS from Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI) to Computer-assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI).
Statistics South Africa
Government of South Africa
The GPSJS 2020/21 questionnaire is based on international reporting standards of governance, public safety and justice defined by the SDGs.
Sections 1 to 3 of the questionnaire relate to household crimes. A proxy respondent (preferably head of the household or acting head of household) answered on behalf of the household. Section 4 to 9 of the questionnaire relate to crimes experienced by individuals and were asked of a household member who was selected using the birthday section method. This methodology selects an individual who is 16 years or older, whose birthday is soonest after the survey date.
Comparability to VCS series:
While redesigning the VCS into the GPSJS, some questions were modified in order to align the series with international reporting demands (e.g. SDGs) and to improve the accuracy of victim reporting. This caused a break of series for affected questions, in particular questions on 12-month experience of crime. The question on 5-year experience of crime was not changed and hence there is no break of series. The 5-year trends can therefore be used as a proxy for the 12-month series as the two follow similar patterns. Similarity of shapes of the two series makes it possible to predict increase or decrease of crime during the past 12 months using the 5-year series.
Public access data for use under a Creative Commons CC-BY (Attribution-only) License
Statistics South Africa. Governance Public Safety and Justice Survey 2020-2021 [dataset]. Version 1. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer], 2021. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/jnf2-3220