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The positions of rectilinear boundaries are determined by establishing the positions of the
beacons which indicate the corner points of the boundaries. Provision is made for the manner
of determination of the positions of curvilinear boundaries in different circumstances. If a
river other than a tidal river constitutes a boundary of any piece of land, that piece of land
will be deemed to extend to the middle of the river. This will be the case unless: it is stated in
the title deed or on the original diagram or general plan of that land that a particular bank of
the river constitutes that boundary; it is stated in the title deed or on the original diagram or
general plan of land contiguous to the first mentioned land and separated there from by the
river, that the entire bed forms part of the contiguous land; the inclusion of any part of the
river bed in that land would cause that boundary to fall beyond the territorial limits of the
grantor as they existed at the time when the grant of that land was made; and the surveyor-
general is in possession of information indicating that the inclusion of any part of the river
bed in that land would be invalid. In the case of the Orange and Vaal Rivers however, the
middle of the river is not deemed to be the boundary until the Surveyor-General, in
consultation with the Chief Surveyor-General and the Minister of Rural Development and
Land Reform, has certified that no evidence has been adduced whereby any presumption that
piece of land extends to the middle of the river may be rebutted. If the owner of a subdivision
lodges with the Surveyor-General an agreement in accordance with the Land Survey Act
setting out in clear terms that the middle of the river is acknowledged as being the river
boundary of that subdivision, the Surveyor-General may, notwithstanding evidence to the
contrary, give effect to the terms of such an agreement if he or she is of the opinion that the
river boundary of an existing subdivision of a piece of land coincides with a part or whole of
the river boundary of that piece of land as originally granted. For the purpose of removal of
uncertainty in the description of the river boundary, “river” includes a watercourse, stream,
sprint, donga or similar natural feature, whether the flow of water in it is of a perennial nature
or not, and which is indicated as a boundary of a piece of land on a diagram or general plan
or which is described as such in a title deed. Whenever the particular part of a physical
feature constituting a curvilinear boundary of any piece of land is not described in writing
and in unequivocal terms in the title deed, original diagram or general plan and the owner is
desirous of having any uncertainty removed, the land-surveyor lodges with the Surveyor-
General an agreement setting out which part of that feature is acknowledge as being the
boundary of that piece of land. When the agreement has been signed, and accepted by the
Surveyor-General, no diagram nor general plan of that piece of land or subdivision thereof
may thereafter be approved if it is not in accordance with the agreement. A beacon or
boundary other than an ambulatory curvilinear boundary is deemed to be lawfully established
when its position is in agreement with the position adopted in a survey or resurvey provided
that any boundary dispute has been resolved; or is in agreement with a resurvey and when a
general plan has been approved accordingly; or is determined by arbitration; or is in
agreement with an order of court; or is in agreement with the position of a beacon or
boundary entitled to recognition at the commencement of the Act; or is in agreement with the
position thereof adopted in a resurvey and when an amended title based on that resurvey was
issued under the Land Beacons Amendment and Extension Act.

Beacons are used to indicate the corner positions of rectilinear boundaries. Any beacon
erected must be substantially and durably constructed under the supervision of and in the
position determined by a land surveyor.

Specifications for beacons

The Land Survey Act provides that the materials of which beacons are made and the manner
in which they are erected must be prescribed. A beacon may be a natural object such as a
rock or an artificial object such as a metal peg. Minimum specifications are prescribed for
beacons which consist of prescribed lengths and sizes of iron pegs, and vary according to
where the land surveyed is situated.

a) For land situate in a township or settlement, a 12mm iron peg at least 400mm long is
required; and

b) For rural land: a 16mm iron peg of at least 500mm long is required.

Provided that

i) When it is not possible to drive the peg into the ground, the corner point shall be
defined by a hole of sufficient depth drilled into the obstructing rock, pavement or

ii) When a post forms part of a properly erected fence and occupies a corner point of
land being surveyed, it may be adopted as a beacon.

iii) When the corner point coincides with the corner of a permanent building, such
corner shall be adopted as a beacon.

Any departure from the prescribed types of beacons shall be reported to the Surveyor-
General and trigonometrical stations shall NOT be used as new beacons.

When beacons are not required;

a) when the corner point is in such close proximity to the corner of a building that a
beacon cannot be conveniently placed in position, in which case the position of the
corner of the building shall be accurately determined for use as an indicatory beacon;
b) when the area affected by a servitude is of defined width, in which case it is necessary
to place beacons along one side only of the area or on a convenient line indicatory to
c) at the ends of a straight of a railway line forming a boundary;
d) when the purpose of the beacon will fall away by consolidation of title
e) in the case of a servitude based on visible physical features of a permanent nature.
Surveyor-General may waive the requirements to erect or restore any beacon, when it is
evident that such beacon would serve no useful purpose.
Indicatory beacons
When a corner point of a piece of land or the beacon of a real right falls in an inaccessible or
insecure position, or in a position where it is deemed inadvisable to place a beacon, such
position is preserved by means of an indicatory beacon or beacons.
Specifications for placing indicatory beacons
a) An indicatory beacon must be placed on each of two of the rectilinear boundaries
meeting at such corner point, and as close thereto as to be consistent with its safety.
b) An indicatory beacon must be placed on a rectilinear boundary to define its
intersection with a curvilinear boundary.
It is however, not necessary to place an indicatory beacon when it cannot be placed on line
due to an obstructing building or permanent structure.

Alignment of existing beacons

In surveying a piece of land, of which any existing beacon is supposed to be on a straight line
boundary common to such piece of land and other properties, a land surveyor shall proceed as
a) When the terminals of the common boundary line are lawfully established beacons, or
are well ascertained beacons recognized by all parties, the beacon if not on the
straight line joining the terminals shall, be replaced on line unless it is a lawfully
established beacon, in which case it shall be adopted as a beacon of the land under
b) When the terminals of the common boundary line are not lawfully established
beacons, and the positions of one or both is doubtful, the beacon, if not on line, may
be adopted provided it is well ascertained beacon recognized by all parties and in
respect of which an agreement substantially in accordance with the Form contained in
Schedule 1 of the Land Survey Act 8 of 1997, signed by all parties concerned, is
lodged with the Surveyor-General.
In cases not provided for above, a land surveyor shall investigate the matter thoroughly and
collect all available information and evidence to enable him or her to place the beacons in the
most likely positions and agreement as above mentioned, to all such beacons, shall be lodged
if deemed necessary by the Surveyor-General. Cognisance shall be taken of the beacons and
boundaries of a township along the straight line boundary. A full report detailing all the
evidence on which the land surveyor based his or her action shall be submitted with the
relative survey records.
For the purpose of beacon regulation, a beacon shall be deemed to be not on the true and
correct boundary when its displacement exceeds
0.06 plus metres
with a maximum of 1.00 metre: Provided that a beacon need not be moved in order to correct
its alignment when its displacement falls within the limit of
0.06 plus metres
with a maximum of 1.00 metre, where “d” is the distance from such beacon to the nearest
terminal or point justifiably adopted as a terminal in terms of this regulation: Provided further
that, in cases where it is necessary to correct alignment, if the beacon is not replaced on line
a) it shall be used as an indicatory beacon for the unbeaconed point adopted as a corner
of the land under survey; and
b) such data as may be necessary to define the position of such point in relation to such
indicatory beacon, shall be recorded on any new diagram affected.

When a land surveyor has replaced a beacon or redetermined the position of one or more
boundaries, the land surveyor must report the circumstances to the Surveyor-General. Within
three months of such replacement or redetermination, the land surveyor must submit to the
office of the Surveyor-General for examination, acceptance and for permanent filing the
survey records relative to such replacement or redetermination. When beacons are co-
ordinated by means of GPS techniques (Global Positioning System of position
determination), sufficient GPS vectors must be measured to determine the local relationship
between the GPS reference datum and the national control survey reference datum as
required in the regulations. When the position of a terminal beacon has previously been
properly identified and determined on the national control survey system, the co-ordinates of
such beacon may be adopted for the purpose of alignment thereto. A beacon is not placed so
close to such terminal beacon that its alignment could be appreciably affected by such survey
errors as could normally be expected in the determination of the position of the terminal
beacon. The data defining an unbeaconed point in relation to an indicatory beacon and
obtained in the process of correcting the alignment of a beacon as prescribed may be adopted
without verification for the purpose of any new diagram. The co-ordinate value of any survey
station or beacon, whose position on the national control survey system has been accurately
determined, may after verification be used by a land surveyor. In surveying a piece of land, of
which any existing beacon is supposed to be on a straight line boundary common to such
piece of land and other properties, a land surveyor must proceed as prescribed by the
regulations describing the alignment of existing beacons.