WIT Press

Leveraging Water Infrastructure For Transformative Socio-economic Development In South Africa


Free (open access)





Page Range

435 - 446




3,576 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


O. Busari & J. Ndlovu


Building economic and social infrastructure is at the heart of the national developmental agenda in South Africa, and plans include those for enhancing the capacity of existing water resource infrastructure to meet competing needs across all sectors. Indeed, water is arguably the most pivotal natural resource for meeting the socio-economic needs of South Africa as a developmental state. It is understandable, therefore, that there is increasing expectation to provide water to support all the development objectives of the state, including poverty alleviation and rural development. In the light of the challenge to drive down unemployment levels, including among the youth as amplified in the New Growth Path underpinning the country’s economic development, the rollout of mega-projects such as those for large water infrastructure is required to be innovatively structured to create more jobs and have a real positive impact on the lives of the poor. This paper evaluates the expanding operational model of the Trans- Caledon Tunnel Authority, a state-owned entity, beyond its primary mandate to finance and implement bulk water infrastructure projects without recourse to the fiscus, into strategically mapping out all project interventions to facilitate social transformation and build sustainable communities. This developmental priority is demonstrated by the manner in which water infrastructure projects are now implemented by the organization and its collaborators. Key elements include the development of economically sustainable funding models; innovative management of debt within a prudent risk framework; and, most importantly, implementation of cost-effective and environmentally sound infrastructure emphasizing socio-economic strategies for transforming project communities and building small, medium and micro enterprises. Keywords: water infrastructure, social transformation, sustainable project communities, TCTA, South Africa.


water infrastructure, social transformation, sustainable project communities, TCTA, South Africa.