The aim of this research was to investigate the ways in which South African organisations are embracing the potential to improve their performance through the use of effective strategic sourcing practices. Four specific indicators for effective strategic sourcing were identified, around which four research questions were formulated. This research was qualitative in nature. An exploratory, applied research process based on experience survey methodology was followed, using two survey instruments. Questionnaires were issued through a professional body to all its members, and key informant interviews were conducted with a number of subject matter experts. Content analysis was applied to the data collected. The results of this research support the idea that the procurement function in South African organisations is involved in the overall strategic planning process, is appropriately positioned and structured for effective strategic sourcing, is attempting to use appropriate tools and techniques where possible, and is applying appropriate performance measurement methods. However, improvement in a number of areas is still required if these organisations wish to achieve the full benefits that strategic sourcing can offer. The results of this research could be used by procurement managers in South Africa for guidance in terms of how to structure and manage their own functions in order to derive the greatest possible performance improvements.