Cadastral-smAs a conveyancer, how sure are you of the exact spatial extent and boundaries of the land you are in the process of registering and how well can you prove this?

Property are by far most people’s biggest investment ever,  and the only proof they have of this is a Title Deed with no further proof of the actual extent of the property boundary.  This need not be a problem and can be obtained (in most cases) within a few hours, for any location in South Africa.


Title Deed is good……spatial cadastral proof is an added fail-safe.

Conveyancers have the responsibility to ensure the correctness of all documentation, prior to the transfer of a deed.  They have to protect the interest of their client at all cost – that is what they are paid to do.
In most property transactions however, one would only find referral to the written property description, and no proof of the actual spatial extent of the boundary of that property.  All properties are spatially described by Surveyor General (SG) diagrams, or at least a so-called SG general plan, and in most cases a SG compilation- or noting sheet.

These diagrams are in many cases difficult to interpret and orientate on the ground. This can easily be overcome by a cadastral map as part of a detailed cadastral property report, that show the relevant property boundaries, overlaid on aerial imagery.  Such a map, providing spatial proof of the extent of a property boundary, can be obtained for any location in SA, within a period of between 4 and 48 hours.  It can be provided by a professional cartographer, at a much lower cost (and much quicker) than most PLS’s (professional land surveyor) would deliver. The cartographer interprets the spatial cadastral information, and present it in a much more user-friendly format.  A detailed cadastral property report could indeed confirm (or reject) the necessity for the services of a PLS, that is much more expensive and time consuming, therefore saving time and money during the conveyancing process.  For a relative small fee, guesswork can be eliminated for a very important part of the process – ensuring proof of the actual spatial extent of the relevant property, eliminating the possibility that the transaction may be challenged later in the conveyancing process, due to uncertainty of the property boundary.

This is not so much the case with most residential properties, as is the case with industrial property, larger residential property, smallholdings, farm land, and land still to be developed.  A proper cadastral map could give clear proof of the exact location of property boundaries, including showing exact location of servitude boundaries and sub-divisions, which are all so often neglected during property transactions.

As facilitators for the most expensive transaction most people will ever enter into in their lives, conveyancers can provide peace of mind by providing proof to the client, as to exactly what they are signing up for.   Such a cadastral map may also in some cases allow clients to negotiate a better deal on the property transaction.

As one veteran conveyancer stated: “The real skill in properly completing a conveyancing transaction is in anticipating potential problems, and addressing them before they materialise, by amongst others including a proper cadastral map, as proof of the exact spatial extent of the boundary of the property.”

A Detailed Cadastral Property Report could help conveyancers …
… provide proof of the exact layout of the land and its boundaries
… show the exact location of servitudes and subdivisions
… to prevent or resolve boundary disputes
… help buyers to be 100% sure of what land they plan to buy
… enable sellers to prove exactly what land is for sale
… to know (and show) EXACTLY what land they are conveyancing!


A Detailed Cadastral Property Report could also …
… prove how the change in flow of water impacts on the location of practical boundaries
… prove where fences (after many years) may not follow legal cadastral boundaries any more
… help to do proper sub-division planning
… help you be sure of so much more.

Beware of long-standing features that may have been treated as property boundaries for years … it may be legally incorrect!

While a cadastral map could be regarded as an unnecessary cost, it may turn out to be a cost well worth incurring.

Most conveyancers only have access (or refer) to a Title Deed …

…  while a  “Detailed Cadastral Property Report” by Geo-Logic, can add some, or all of the following:

1.    A copy of the Surveyor General compilation- or noting sheet:


2.    A copy of the Surveyor General diagram:

3.    Copies of any Surveyor General servitude diagrams:


4.    Most importantly, a cadastral Map:
•    showing the precise location of all legal corner beacons and boundary lines
•    overlaid on aerial imagery
•    at a relevant scale
•    with numbered (corner & servitude) beacons if required
•    for inclusion and peace of mind, as part of the full conveyancing documentation portfolio

5.    A coordinate table (if required):
•    listing the exact modern* coordinates for all relevant (corner & servitude) beacons
•    in so-called “survey” coordinate format, in the relevant LO-system
•    as well as in GPS coordinate format, also known as Latitude & Longitude, for easy  navigation to find, check and confirm these locations
•    converted from units such as Cape feet, Cape rood, English feet, Perches,  Morgen, Acres, etc.


* Take note that any coordinates that appear on a Surveyor General  diagram that was compiled prior to the year 2000, are no longer applicable as-is. Although the location of these beacon points relevant to each other, as well as the area (ha) they form, has stayed exactly the same, new coordinates apply.

This is due to the official South African surveying system being based on a new (more precise) definition of the shape of the earth, as well as a new reference point, referred to as a “map datum”. Since the year 2000 the WGS84 map datum applies, instead of the previous Cape datum.

6.    A KML file for use in the GoogleEarth application:

This allows the conveyancer to prove to his client the relevant cadastral (property) boundaries as lines, overlaid on the available aerial imagery presented in the GoogleEarth application, for wider orientation and investigation, and as further peace of mind.

7.    A “Deeds Office Property Report” for each individual cadastral portion:

These reports confirm legal ownership according to the current records of the Deeds Office, as well as the official area (ha) of the land portions, and other relevant information.


Contributed by:
Ryk Taljaard powered by
Geo-Logic Cadastral Mapping, for affordable, fast and efficient cadastral mapping, anywhere in SA
Mobile: 082 895 2906


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