SASA is a not-for-gain member association for anaesthesiologists that is dedicated to the furtherance of the discipline of anaesthesia at both an academic and a clinical level. We have been in existence since 1943 and are devoted to the welfare of our members and their patients.

We engage with a myriad of stakeholders throughout the medical industry including the National Department of Health, funders and administrators, as well as facility groups – both public and private – so as to assist our members in their daily work practices which will ultimately result in a higher level of patient care.

A significant portion of our funds are invested into education, training and development in order for South Africa to provide world class anaesthesia to patients, who are at the centre of everything that we do.


SASA will champion patient rights by building an environment that enables all anaesthetists to practice optimally. We will do this by elevating anaesthesiology through advocacy and by building patient-centric strategic partnerships to create a South Africa where we play our part in building a healthy, productive nation through brokering harmonious relationships for effective healthcare and accessible surgery.


SASA consists of 5 Business Units, 6 Branches, 5 Special Interest Groups and the registrars’ forum of SARFA.

SASA national comprises of an Executive Committee with 6 members and a Council of 21 members.

The President, Vice President, Immediate Past President, National Secretary and National Treasurer are all anaesthetists that volunteer their time and are elected for a four-year term. The Society also has a full time Chief Executive Officer recruited from the business management and organisational development sphere.

SASA’s Council is made of 21 members elected to serve a four-year term or co-opted to drive an area of specific focus for the Society and profession, all in a voluntary capacity.

History of the SASA branding and SASA crest


The South African Society of Anaesthetists was formed during the 2nd World War, in August 1943. In that year there were only 26 anaesthetists on the SAMDC register compared with a total of 266 specialists who might need the services of an anaesthetist. (Surgeons 73, Gynaecologists 40, and surgical specialties 153)

Anaesthesia was not a popular specialty due to the high morbidity and mortality at that time in addition to low status and poor remuneration. The Royal College of Surgeons had only introduced the Diploma in Anaesthesia as a specialist qualification in 1935 and SA doctors had to travel overseas to obtain a specialist qualification. The outbreak of the war in September 1939 provided the stimulus for change, as anaesthetists were urgently needed in the Armed Forces. Many doctors volunteered for the South African Medical Corps and were drafted into anaesthesia.

The concept of forming a National Society stemmed from a suggestion by Major RA Moore-Dyk at one of the regular informal meetings held in private homes in Johannesburg at which anaesthetists came together, usually with an invited speaker to discuss various topics.

A provisional committee was formed and a date set for the inaugural meeting at which all practicing anaesthetists in SA, including volunteer anaesthetists, were invited to attend.

The Nagin Parbhoo History of Anaesthesia Museum is acknowledged as the official South African Society of Anaesthesiology (SASA) Museum and has a section devoted to the History of the Society including a display dedicated to the successful hosting by SASA of the 14th World Congress of Anaesthesiology, in Cape Town in 2008.

Housed in the University of Cape Town (UCT) Department of Anaesthesia, the museum boasts the finest collection of early anaesthesia apparatus in Africa with artefacts dating back to 1847 – only one year after the historic first public demonstration by Morton of the efficacy of ether to provide anaesthesia in Boston in October 1846.

Click here for more information on the museum.

Click here to read more on SASA’s history.


We are an active member of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) and the subcommittee of African Regional Section (ARS)

We have strong relationships with professional societies that form the Common Issues Group (CIG), holding regular meetings that involve collaborating, resource sharing and issuing joint statements. The members of this group, together with SASA, are the anaesthesia societies from:

  • Great Britain and Ireland
  • Canada
  • America
  • Australia
  • New Zealand


SASA is a not-for-gain member association for anaesthesiologists that is dedicated to the furtherance of the discipline of anaesthesia at both an academic and a clinical level. We have been in existence since 1943 and are devoted to the welfare of our members and their patients.


Gives members:

  • International trends in healthcare issues such as drug shortages and alternate funding mechanisms
  • Networking opportunities through strengthened personal relationships
  • Reduced fees for memberships and international congresses




Critical Care Society of Southern Africa




Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland


American Society of Anaesthesiologists


Malignant Hypothermia Centre


Australian Society of Anaesthetists


Canadian Anaesthesiologists Society


New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists


European Society of Regional Anaesthesia


Society of Cardiovascular Anaesthesiologists