Background. Perioperative research is currently unco-ordinated in South Africa (SA), with no clear research agenda. Objective. To determine the top ten national research priorities for perioperative research in SA. Methods. A Delphi technique was used to establish consensus on the top ten research priorities. Results. The top ten research priorities were as follows: (i) establishment of a national database of (a) critical care outcomes, and (b) critical care resources; (ii) a randomised controlled trial of preoperative B-type natriuretic peptide-guided medical therapy to decrease major adverse cardiac events following non-cardiac surgery; (iii) a national prospective observational study of the outcomes associated with paediatric surgical cases; (iv) a national observational study of maternal and fetal outcomes following operative delivery in SA; (v) a steppedwedge trial of an enhanced recovery after surgery programme for (a) surgery, (b) obstetrics, (c) emergency surgery, and (d) trauma surgery; (vi) a stepped-wedge trial of a surgical safety checklist on patient outcomes in SA; (vii) a prospective observational study of perioperative outcomes after surgery in district general hospitals in SA; (viii) short-course interventions to improve anaesthetic skills in rural doctors; (ix) studies of the efficacy of simulation training to improve (a) patient outcomes, (b) team dynamics, and (c) leadership; and (x) development and validation of a risk stratification tool for SA surgery based on the South African Surgical Outcomes Study (SASOS) data. Conclusions. These research priorities provide the structure for an intermediate-term research agenda.