What Is the Integrated Development Plan?

An Integrated Development Plan, also known as an IDP, is a five-year plan used to identify the development needs of a particular municipality. It is drafted by the local government. All projects in the Integrated Development Plan must be completed with the municipality’s budget.

The Integrated Development Plan is reviewed every year to make provision for changes that have taken place during the 12 months prior to review and to ensure that the plan can be adapted to ensure that the municipality stays on course in achieving the objectives of the five-year plan. The annual review is also necessary to establish the relevancy of projects. Some projects may no longer be viable and must then be scraped from the IDP. The priorities of projects are also set during the annual review process.

The annual review is concluded after full public participation has been achieved. The process provides citizens with the opportunities to object to developments and to bring attention to developmental needs that they feel should receive priority.

The municipality has a limited budget and as such, not every priority project can form part of the Integrated Development Plan. To cater for important projects for which funds are simply not available in the budget, the wards receive specific amounts that must be spent in their wards to address the developmental needs in their specific communities.

Public participation is important and the citizens also have opportunities to participate by means of communication through ward councillors and committees.

To understand the role and importance of the IDP, one has to understand what is seen as development. According to the World Bank, development is a means to measure wealth. The wealth is represented by the total of resources available to a particular society. Within the context of development, the Integrated Development Plan is the planning process by municipalities whereby a strategic plan for development is created for a five-year timeframe. In this regard, the IDP is the main planning and budgeting vehicle of municipalities in South Africa.

The municipality is the subdivision of political power and administration that has control over the affairs within its boundaries, such as the collection of rates and taxes. It is thus an institution on local level where councillors, committees, and officials perform specific functions within the boundaries of the municipality, with the aim of providing services to the community and meeting its developmental needs.

Public participation entails the various vehicles used by groups and individuals to communicate their frustrations, needs, and views on a particular issue of public interest. The aim of public participation is to give the citizens in a particular ward or municipality a voice, so as to ensure that decisions are not simply forced down on them.

Citizens participate in the processes that affect their communities and ultimately, their lives. It is a two-way communication channel in which councillors inform citizens about plans and problems, and exchange information with the citizens of the ward or municipality. Public participation can also be done on provincial and national level. For the purpose of understanding the Integrated Development Plan’s function, public participation is limited to the citizens within a specific geographical area.

Closely related to the spirit of the IDP is the Reconstruction & Development Programme (RDP), which was a policy framework that was developed by the SACP, COSATU, and the ANC for improvement in the conditions of previously disadvantaged groups in South Africa. It was a reconstruction plan.

Integrated Development Planning, as is used in South Africa today, came about in 1996. Accordingly, municipalities would assume more responsibility regarding development within their respective geographical areas. Such planning would need to ensure that communities and important stakeholders have maximum opportunity for participation in development decisions that affect the citizens of the particular geographical area.

The IDP was initially seen as a vehicle for supporting the delivery of the various RDP initiatives on national and local levels. The RDP office closed and from there, the focus was on the role of the Integrated Development Planning on local government level. Public participation is seen as essential in the creation of a more democratic society in which citizens have some say regarding developments that affect their lives.

Municipalities are invited to call on our team for assistance in Integrated Development Planning and public participation.