Play was initially suspended at 12.48pm local time, before the leaders had teed off, and four hours and 12 minutes were lost before the field took to Infinitum's Lakes Course again.
Upon the resumption, Canadian Cockerill completed a 62 to get to ten under moments before the hooter sounded again at 6.58pm, with no further play possible for the day.
A severe hailstorm and the threat of lightning throughout the day meant that 17 groups would return to complete round three on day four, with the final group left with 13 holes to play.
That group contained on-course leader Scott Jamieson, who was 11 under after making a birdie and a bogey in his first six holes.
Jamieson's playing partners Adrian Otaegui and Tapio Pulkkanen were then in a share of third at eight under alongside Johannes Veerman and David Law, who had 12 holes to play; Hennie du Plessis and Jack Senior, who had ten remaining; Pablo Larrazábal, who turned in 31 and Andrew Wilson, who had completed 15 holes.
Cockerill is enjoying an excellent season so far despite not having full playing privileges, making four cuts from five events and achieving a career-best finish of second at the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa.
He started the day nine shots off the lead but crept up the leaderboard with birdies on the second, fourth and fifth to turn in 31.
Another gain came on the tenth and he picked up further shots on the 13th and 14th before an approach to 12 feet saw him eagle the last and leapfrog into second place.
I like this course. I got through the Qualifying School here in 2019 so I have good memories here
“It was an awesome day, I played really well the whole day," he said.
“The last is a gettable hole, coming in with the wind so you’ve got a long iron and I was able to stay aggressive and keep it a little left of the hole there. The putt just hung on and it was that kind of day, and it was a nice finish.
“I was just chilling out, just trying to stay awake during the delays, I think I almost fell asleep in the locker room and a lot of guys were doing the same thing.
“I like this course. I got through the Qualifying School here in 2019 so I have good memories here.
"I feel like I played well the first two days, I didn’t get as much out of the score as I could have and things came together today."
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Overnight leader Jamieson failed to get up and down on the first but birdied the third with a ten-footer and that extended his lead to three after Pulkkanen had dropped a shot on the second - but Cockerill trimmed the advantage with his big finish.
“On the first I hit a bad wedge shot and then it was a tough up-and-down,” said Jamieson. “I hit a good putt but it just didn’t go in. It was pretty solid after that.
“We’re only really halfway through the tournament aren’t we and there’s a little wind forecast tomorrow and I don’t know what it’s going to be like for those 12 or so holes in the morning. So I’ve just got to play the golf that’s in front of me the best that I can and see what it all adds up to.”
There were 24 players within five shots of the lead.