Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) is a state-owned entity charged with financing and implementing bulk raw water infrastructure projects. It is an agency of the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), which is responsible for the country’s water resources in respect of usage, equitable allocation and distribution. TCTA assists the government in its pursuit of water security for South Africa and in realising its constitutional obligation of ensuring universal access to this essential resource for all citizens.
South Africa is a water-scarce country, requiring a dedicated focus on ensuring adequate water storage and transfer capacity. To this end, TCTA designs bankable projects, raises funding in capital markets, manages debt and implements infrastructure rollouts.
It is a specialised liability management body the government uses to finance and build dams and transfer schemes off budget while within an acceptable risk framework and in the most cost-effective manner.
This financing mechanism reduces the borrowing requirements of the government and allows it to pass the cost of infrastructure onto the consumer in line with the “user-pay principle”.
The government of South Africa founded TCTA in terms of a Notice of Establishment published on 12 December 1986. The initial mandate was to finance and build the South African part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), which delivers water to the Vaal River System in South Africa. It was meant to be a special purpose vehicle for South Africa to use to fulfil its treaty obligations to Lesotho in respect of this project. However, in 2000, the Notice of Establishment was amended resulting in the TCTA being able to undertake other projects.
The amended notice, issued in terms of the National Water Act of 1998, replaced the old one when DWS published it in the Government Gazette on 24 March 2000. It articulates TCTA’s mandate and allows periodic directives on new deliverables from the Executive Authority. Each project is ring-fenced with its own bank account, income agreement and funding programme. Now, in addition to LHWP, TCTA is engaged in other water security projects. These include Olifants River Water Resources Development, Mokolo-Crocodile Water Augmentation, Acid Mine Drainage, Berg River-Voëlvlei Augmentation, uMzibuvubu River Water and Kriel Off-take projects.In executing its mandate, TCTA strives for professionalism, integrity and diligence.
The organisation recognises its obligations and expectations of stakeholders – including capital markets, various spheres of government and the public at large – hence its endeavours to maintain transparent and consultative relationships with them. It upholds the principles of accountability and sound corporate governance. TCTA’s vision, mission and values are an indispensable guide in navigating the dynamic environment the organisation operates in, and in striving for and maintaining world-class service, managerial and technical excellence standards.