Diminishing or perpetuating inequality? Exploring the terms and conditions of Development Bank of Southern Africa infrastructure loans to Theewaterskloof Municipality: A case study
Jansen-Daugbjerg, Helga Tamara
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The South African government has earmarked infrastructure development as a key driver of the economy. The infrastructure sectors of energy, water and transport have received large Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) loans to fund new projects, repairs and maintenance. The DBSA loan approvals to municipalities for the period 2012-2013 was R2.3 billion. Loans to 'under-resourced' municipalities totalled R927 million for the same period. Key infrastructure sectors included electricity (R466 million), roads and drainage (R678 million), community facilities (R735 million) and water and sanitation (R1.2 billion). The DBSA is owned by the South African state and its relationship with municipalities is legislated and regulated through the Constitution and an Act of Parliament. One of the post-apartheid roles of the DBSA is to support the infrastructure development agenda of the State through a complexed network of infrastructure projects in the key infrastructure sectors of water and sanitation, education, housing, health and housing. It does so through project, technical and development finance support to municipalities. The underlying rationale for the relationship between municipalities and the DBSA is to forward the States' agenda of providing equal access to basic services and develop infrastructure to support its social and economic development agenda. While the DBSA does provide infrastructure grants and facilitates intergovernmental transfers to municipalities, it also provides infrastructure loans to municipalities for both capital expenditure and large-scale infrastructure projects. The premise of development banks is to provide development finance for infrastructure projects at low interest. The DBSA specifically as a state-owned bank has an overall agenda to develop the infrastructure of poorer municipalities whose credit-worthiness will not allow it to qualify for commercial loans.