World No. 9 Goosen was one of several players to make the most of moving day, making light of the tough pin positions and gusting southeast wind.
Goosen finished level on 14-under-par with second round leader Alan McLean, who carded an erratic but courageous 70, while 1999 champion Nic Henning equaled the course record set on Friday by McLean, his 64 good enough to put him on his own in third-place at 12-under.
Callie Swart, Omar Sandys, Des Terblanche, Daren Fichardt, Bradford Vaughan and Irishman Stephen Browne are all a shot further back at 11-under-par. Defending champion Trevor Immelman is at 9-under after a third successive 69, one stroke ahead of Ernie Els who carded a 70.
'The course played a lot tougher today,' Goosen said afterwards. 'The wind is coming back and its getting stronger and stronger. The flags are tucked away as well, and some downwind holes its becoming very difficult to stop the ball.
'It looked as though the field were getting away from us but the holes into the wind on the back nine are playing quite tough and even the last two holes playing downwind are not easy. So Im quite surprised to be tied for the lead ' I thought Id be a couple of shots behind.
'Im looking forward to tomorrow ' its going to be a very exciting day. I would love to win this. Ive won in a few countries this year so it would be great to pull it off.'
McLeans round was a real curates egg, including an eagle and four birdies, as well as four bogeys.
'I putted really well and chipped really well ' I felt like Seve out there,' McLean said. 'I wasnt trying to protect my position ' I went out there and had fun. There were a few tingly nerves at the beginning, but with another 18 holes to play after today there was nothing really to protect.
'My driving definitely didnt go to plan. Im off now to go and try and find a tee swing for tomorrow.'
Henning meanwhile has suffered something of a dip in form since claiming the Players Championship two years ago, losing his card on the European Tour and generally feeling frustrated with a season of putts that would not drop. Coming to Cape Town is clearly a far more pleasant experience.
'Coming down here is amazing ' its such a nice part of the world,' Henning said afterwards. 'The greens have been completely changed since I won here but the holes are still there so enjoy coming down here.'
'Ive played nicely this year but achieved nothing, but Im in position here and if Im within two or three shots of the lead I think I can give myself a good chance tomorrow.'
Fancourt professional Chris Davison opened a few eyes early in the third round, requiring just 30 strokes to play the front nine. However, any thoughts of a new course record were shattered coming home, Davison putting in a real Jekyll-and-Hyde performance with four bogeys and a double bogey to post a 72 and stand at 1-under.
Full Field Scores from the Vodacom Players Championship