South Africa’s Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) has raised just over R15 billion ($1.09 billion) in capital markets to continue construction of the Lesotho Highlands water project, the minister of water and sanitation said on Tuesday.
The state-owned TCTA needed guarantees from the National Treasury before it could raise the private funding for the project which is designed to improve water access for millions of people in South Africa’s economic heartland in Gauteng province.
“So, we have the resources, we have the guarantees and now we can assure you that we will be hard at work to provide water security,” minister Lindiwe Sisulu told lawmakers.
In March the TCTA said delays by the treasury, which were due to tightening conditions for support for state-owned entities, were putting pressure on the TCTA as it looked to raise R33 billion in 2021.
Years of hot weather in water-scarce South Africa, coupled with a lack of investment and inadequate maintenance of infrastructure has led to increasing dependence on the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho to augment water supplies to Africa’s most industrialised country.
The $1 billion raised with allow for the completion of phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands water project, which involves the construction of a series of dams, Sisulu said.
She added that the TCTA has projects worth R68 billion designed to increase water delivery across the country’s major cities.