Integrated Development Plan: Why Your Municipality Need One

The Integrated Development Plan is the master framework for developing infrastructure and facilities for the communities in a specific area.

It forms an integral part of an approach to seek the most feasible development solutions to the maximum benefit of the people in an area. Today this also includes the minimisation of environmental impact as the result of human and economic activities.

Essential elements to include in the Integrated Development Plan

The comprehensive and workable document should include specific components. These are at minimum:

  • Long-term vision for development, with the focus on the core areas and aspects of internal change.
  • Review of the current development level with inclusion of the groups of people who don’t at present have sufficient access to the basic services.
  • Main priorities and goals of the municipality, with inclusion of the objectives for economic and internal transformation.
  • Alignment of the strategies with provincial, sectoral and national strategies.
  • Budget projection for a period of at least 36 months.
  • Integrated framework for spatial development with inclusion of the basic land use management.
  • Relevant key performance indicators for measurement of performance.

What must the Integrated Development Plan take into consideration?

Since it is an overall framework to ensure organised and beneficial development, it must make provision for the work and living needs of communities. It is a holistic approach to ensure inclusiveness instead of leaving communities marginalised. To this end, accessibility of services, distances between living spaces and work areas, availability of resources, and the well-being of communities must be considered.

When did the concept originate?

The need for integrated planning became apparent after communities were marginalised pre-1994. The aim was to create a framework within which municipalities could address issues such as people having to travel far to get to work, among others. Within this framework, internal transformation of the municipality must also be given priority to ensure broader economic participation is possible within the jurisdiction of the particular municipality.

Must every municipality in South Africa comply?

Yes. Every municipality should draw up an integrated development plan, inclusive of the objectives to reach within their term period. The aim is to set a framework for how the land within their jurisdiction should be developed, given the available resources. The municipality should also include their budget projections as the plans and the financial resources must align. This document provides a written statement of what needs to be done, what is available to achieve the goals, and how to minimise the impact of the development on the environment. Once drafted, all the plans of the municipality must be carried out in line with the stipulations of the IDP.

How long is it valid?

The IDP is valid for five years, but during this time, changes can be made. It must be reviewed annually and where needed, changes made. It is possible for a newly elected council to adopt the IDP of the previously elected council, but it should at minimum be updated to take into consideration, the existing budget, conditions, resources and goals. In effect, it creates a roadmap to reach organised and beneficial goals. It takes from six months to close to a year to draw up a new plan.

Who should be involved in the process?

The stakeholders, municipal officials and urban planning consultants are involved. A coordinator is appointed and the municipality’s executive committee or the mayor office must see to it that the IDP is implemented and managed.

What are the phases for the creation of the IDP?

Several stages are involved. These include the analysis and strategy creation phases to the setting of projects, integration, approval and implementation with monitoring. Public participation is important for transparency and widespread acceptance of the proposals.

Having such a framework in place, has several advantages including:

  • Improved and managed usage of resources.
  • Creates service delivery goals and timelines.
  • Creates a document against which performance can be measured.
  • Provides a documented framework that can be used to attract necessary funding for projects.
  • Helps to transform society.
  • Creates a democratic process.
  • Improves coordination between local and provincial government structures.

Where to get help with the process

Seek professional consultancy guidance from experienced urban planners. Make use of The Practice Group to help review and draw up a workable Integrated Development Plan for your municipality in South Africa.