Subdivisions and Consolidations are referred to Cadastral Surveys. These are surveys where a new parcel of land (erf in an urban area and farm in a rural area) are created, a subdivision being where one piece of land is divided into 2 or more portions and a consolidation being where 2 or more pieces are consolidated into one. Cadastral Surveys can only be performed by Professional Land Surveyors who are registered with the South African Council for Professional and Technical Surveyors (PLATO).
Most local authorities in South Africa, including the City of Cape Town, are generally in favour of appropriate subdivision in the urban context, as this combats urban sprawl and results in more efficient use of serviced land within the city. Subdivision of property close to CBD's, places of employment, amenities and transportation routes is considered particularly desirable. However, subdivision of farms is not considered that desirable, as the authorities do not want farms to be cut up into units that are not economically viable as agricultural land.
There are 2 main stages in the subdivision process. The first is the application for consent to subdivide and the second is the physical survey which involves the beaconing of the new properties, framing new property diagrams and obtaining approval from the Surveyor General for the survey and diagrams.
The application to subdivide is usually done by a Land Surveyor or Town Planner. In the case of urban subdivisions the application would be made to the local authority, with other applications possibly also being made to SAHRA (South African Heritage Resource Agency) for buildings older than 50 years old, nature conservation authorities or the Provincial Government in the case of the removal of a title deed restriction (Removal of Restrictions Application). The time frames involved can vary from a few months to a few years, depending on the complexity and if objections are encountered. Consult your Land Surveyor for advice on timeframes.
Similarly, rural applications require and applications to the Dept. of Agriculture, the local authority and the Roads Authority (Provincial or National or Both). Applications may also be required to the nature conservation authority, SAHRA or other statutory bodies. Consult your Land Surveyor for advice in this regard.
Usually consents will come with conditions attached. Once all the consents to subdivide have been granted, the Land Surveyor can proceed with the physical survey, which normally entails finding or replacing the existing beacons and placing the subdivisional beacons. Then the new farm or erf diagram can be framed and sent to the Surveyor General for approval. Once the Surveyor General has approved the new diagram, a Conveyancing Attorney can register the property.
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