What is an Integrated Development Plan?

To emphasise the importance of seeking expert help and services with integrated development planning for organised settlements and resource allocation, this article provides a short discussion of the approach as applied by the local government in South Africa.

Why is Integrated Development Planning Necessary?

Due to past policies, South Africa’s urban landscape has been characterised by areas allocated according to race rather than economic viability and social well-being factors. This has left some areas to be poorly developed with little or no organised infrastructure and sub-standard services.

Many of the lower-income communities have been stranded far from their workplace, forcing them to commute for several hours to get to their workplaces. These communities have also been left out regarding accessibility to businesses and essential services like hospitals. As a result of housing shortages, informal settlements have become an everyday sight in the cities. Sprawling of such settlements has made it even more difficult to deliver services to them at affordable rates.

To address these and related issues, a solution is necessary to undo the practices that have led to these conditions. With integrated development planning, the local municipalities and residents are involved in seeking ways to ensure appropriate allocation of land and resources to support economic growth and improve access to services.

The Role of the Integrated Development Plan

As part of this approach, an Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is put in place for a particular region to create a larger framework in which development can take place. The IDP should factor in the available resources and issues to solve with a holistic approach to developing the area in terms of the social and economic well-being of the people living and working there.

The IDP aims to create a master plan for how the resources must be allocated, services delivered, infrastructure set in place, as well as how the land must be used, all while protecting the environment. It is necessary for every municipality in the country to create an IDP and coordinate efforts among the relevant municipality, stakeholders, and affected communities to ensure beneficial development.

Every project for developing and managing the land in the area must be done in line with the objectives and goals of the IDP. To achieve this, the plans of all the government departments, as well as the budget must be aligned with the IDP.

The IDP is developed over a specific period without delaying service delivery. The general framework for this makes provision for up to nine months to set the plan in place. This plan should be reviewed every year to make adaptions as required while the IDP is valid for a five-year period, coinciding with the local council office term. Upon taking office, the councillors must decide which aspects of the previous council’s IDP they accept and which ones they want to change.

The Reasons to Create an IDP

Municipalities must develop and adhere to an IDP to manage limited resources more effectively. They face the challenge of how to meet the essential needs of the communities within their municipal jurisdiction and require a plan to do so. Having an IDP in place also improves the speed and effectiveness of delivery. It provides the roadmap and the necessary mechanisms for correct and efficient project implementation within the boundaries of the available resources.

Having a master plan in place with development plans aligned with it helps municipalities to attract investors for funding and collaboration on projects. Stakeholders are involved in decision-making, giving more transparency to processes followed in resource allocation. It also facilitates the integration of areas previously left behind for service delivery and development. The municipality is then able to coordinate efforts with provincial and national government departments to achieve the desired outcomes.

Stakeholders include the affected communities, investors, municipalities, councillors, and provincial and national government divisions.

Why Seek Expert Assistance from The Practice Group?

A specific process is followed in the integrated development and implementation of an IDP. Expert town planning consultants assist with conducting research, giving urban planning guidance, mapping, and providing the overall guidelines.

Reach out to The Practice Group at 012 362 1741 or info@practicegroup.co.za for professional assistance in developing an IDP for your municipality.