An address is a common reference for a multitude of information. In South Africa, multiple address datasets are developed and maintained by various public and private organizations with little or no cooperation on data sharing. We identified motivators and barriers for address data sharing in South Africa through case studies of three typical organizations, which prepare, distribute and use address data. The most significant motivators are improved data quality and an expected return on investment for better decision-making and service delivery. However, the quality of data produced by organizations participating in a data sharing initiative needs to be clearly described and evaluated, in order to avoid prejudiced perceptions of poor quality; and expectations about the timing and value of the expected return on investment from an SDI need to be managed to avoid losing support from stakeholders. Even if organizations have the best data sharing intentions and agreements in place, high staff turnover, which is a considerable problem in South Africa, can jeopardize data sharing. Technical barriers, such as common definitions, models and formats, are less significant and can be overcome by implementing appropriate standards. Public-private partnerships are not given enough consideration in South African data sharing initiatives. Our findings have significant implications for the recently established Committee for Spatial Information (CSI), which is tasked with the implementation of the South African Spatial Data Infrastructure (SASDI), but they are also of interest to other countries and for other spatial datasets.