For anyone who might be interested, here is my timeline to Canadian Permanent Resident (PR) status:
Brendon has been a PR since July 2002, but we were married in SA on 6 March 2004.
Hence, I did not automatically receive PR but he has to sponsor me.
He returned to Canada 19 January 2006.
Sponsorship application sent in and received (all fees paid and medicals done upfront) 20 January 2006.
Started processing sponsorship 6 March 2006 (yes, ironically on our anniversary)
Sponsorship approved 19 May 2006.
Sponsorship applications are usually quick to process. At the time of submission, it was published as 45 days to process. Apparently in our case, it took so long to approve because as a PR who had been outside of Canada for so many months, they had to first check that he still met his residency requirements.
My PR papers arrived at the Canadian High Commission (CHC) Pretoria 24 May 2006.
CHC started processing my PR application on 31 May 2006.
PR approved 27 July 2006.
Passport submitted to CHC 25 August 2006.
Passport returned 7 September 2006.
All in all, a very efficient process once the application reached CHC Pretoria.
Then finally... on eCAS:
"You entered Canada at the Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Terminal No. 3 office on September 22, 2006 and became a Permanent Resident. "