Original Research

Participative integrated development planning praxis in local government: The case of selected South African municipalities

David J. Fourie, Gerrit van der Waldt
Journal of Local Government Research and Innovation | Vol 2 | a43 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jolgri.v2i0.43 | © 2021 David J. Fourie, Gerrit van der Waldt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 September 2021 | Published: 30 November 2021

About the author(s)

David J. Fourie, School of Public Management and Administration, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Gerrit van der Waldt, Focus Area: Social Transformation, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


Background: Municipalities have a moral and legal obligation to involve communities in determining, prioritising and realising socio-economic development needs. To achieve this aim, municipalities should use integrated development planning, which implies a sequential, phased process. Municipalities should engage the local communities in each phase. For this purpose, and based on unique demographic realities, various means of participation should be used.

Aim: The aim was to present and reflect on the results of a survey conducted in selected South African municipalities to ascertain the status of integrated development planning design and implementation in the sampled municipalities, with a particular reference to community participation praxis.

Setting: Senior managers in 11 randomly sampled local, district and metropolitan municipalities. Participants included municipal managers as chief accounting officers, chief financial officers, executive directors and functional heads of department.

Methods: A qualitative survey research design was followed utilising a desktop survey and semi-structured interviews as data collection methods. Input was obtained from senior managers (n = 52) in 11 randomly sampled local, district and metropolitan municipalities.

Results: The survey revealed significant disparities between high capacity urban municipalities and deep rural low-capacity municipalities regarding the effectiveness of community participation mechanisms and development planning engagement.

Conclusion: Integrated development planning is crucial to address the diverse and complex nature of development challenges experienced by most of the South African population. The IDPs of municipalities are critical instruments to guide municipalities in determining and addressing targeted needs in urban and rural communities. Recommendations are proposed to address the planning participation deficit.


integrated development planning; South Africa; municipalities; community participation; consultation; engagement mechanisms; JEL codes: R58; R11; Z13


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