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Investigating the feasibility of establishing a South African marine cadastre.

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Human interaction with the marine environment is increasing at a rate at which marine management systems cannot keep pace. The land cadastral systems are deemed to be well-established and understood thanks to hundreds of years of development. Meanwhile, as marine technological innovations advance and population density in coastal areas grows, human interaction with the oceans is evolving, making existing systems in place for their management seem out-dated. In South Africa, the declaration of Project Phakisa to unlock the oceans economy, which has been relatively untouched, acknowledges the potential benefits that can be extracted from the sea. A land cadastral system consists of graphically depicted boundaries that have been surveyed, and a register that assigns any rights, restrictions and responsibilities to the area enclosed by such surveyed boundaries. Management of marine property rights is not dissimilar to the land cadastre insofar as there being parallel survey and registry components. Internationally, marine cadastre initiatives are being researched and implemented to update marine management systems while there is recognition for convergence of land and sea based spatial data infrastructures. This study explores the need for the development of a seamless cadastre across the land-sea interface for South Africa by assessing the perceptions of stakeholders that deal in land and/or marine environments. The study investigates access to land versus marine spatial data, legal and technical aspects, components and features of a possible marine cadastre. By adopting a case study strategy using both qualitative and quantitative inquiry approaches, the rendered results presented later in the dissertation have increased reliability resulting from the processes of data triangulation. The main findings indicate that the spatial and accompanying registration component of the land-based cadastral system is sufficient to form the cornerstone of land administration in SA. The literature review and canvassing of persons related to the geospatial fraternity indicates, via analysis of a questionnaire and interviews, shortcomings in good ocean governance. Although a marine cadastral system is feasible for SA, it is beset with spatial, technical, legislative and institutional issues that need ironing out. The unification of the land and possible marine cadastral systems would enable a single land-sea spatial data infrastructure that would mute the effects of an uncertain land-sea interface.


Master of Science in Land Surveying. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College 2015.


Multipurpose cadastres -- South Africa., Maritime boundaries -- South Africa., Marine ecosystem management -- South Africa., Marine resources conservation -- Law and legislation -- South Africa., Law of the sea -- South Africa.