The public relations practitioner is expected to have the skills and knowledge to be able to operationalise the description and definition of public relations within their specific environment. Although various studies describing South African public relations practitioners had been performed, these studies are limited in terms of size and scope and do not offer a clear profile of the practitioner and whether they are equipped to perform the necessary tasks. This article is based on a study that obtained data from practitioners in top performing organisations. It profiles South African practitioners and confirms that they need support in order to play a strategic role. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.