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Statutory Restrictions on Cadastral Surveys

There are many statutory restraints placed on landowners wishing to develop their land and, which the cadastral surveyor is bound to observe. Although this serverly restricts an owner’s right to deal with his/her land as he/she wishes, the State has imposed these restrictions in the interest of orderly planning and development, and for the benefit of the community as a whole.

With few exceptions permission must be obtained before land can be subdivided. The list of laws and ordinances, which control the subdivision of land, is a long one and is subject to change, and no attempt will be made here to list them. In many cases permission to subdivide must be obtained from more than one authority.

As part of his/her function, a Surveyor-General must ensure that all applicable consents have been obtained before approving a subdivisional survey.

The Role of the Surveyor-General

There are four Surveyor-General’s offices in South Africa, each of which regulates cadastral surveys in the provinces for which it is responsible. Their principal functions briefly are to:

  • Examine and approve diagrams, general plans and sectional title plans prior to them being registered in a Deeds Registry.
  • Preserve and keep up-to-date all documents and records pertaining to cadastral surveys.
  • Prepare and keep up to date cadastral maps and plans, both in paper and digital form.
  • Supply copies of documents kept in the office in hard copy or digital form. The office also provides advice and information pertaining to the cadastre to all who ask.

The fact that the Surveyor-General’s office holds complete records of all cadastral surveys, ensures that there is virtually no possibility of properties overlapping and, once registered, little chance of conflicting claims to ownership.

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