HSRC Act, No. 17 of 2008 was published in the Government Gazette No. 31470 of 30 September 2008. The Act comes into effect on a date to be proclaimed by the President in the Government Gazette.

The aim of the Act is "To provide for the promotion of research in the field of human sciences in order to improve understanding of social conditions and the process of social change; to provide for the continued existence of the Human Sciences Research Council; and to provide for matters connected therewith."