n Journal of Public Administration - Integrated development planning process and service delivery challenges for South Africa's local municipalities

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



South Africa's post-apartheid government entrusted the delivery of some services to its local sphere of governance, which is in close contact with society. Guided by the 1996 Constitution, local municipalities are required to render basic services and to address existing backlogs that have accumulated over years of separate development. For this reason, instruments such as the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) have been adopted to enhance the local municipality's delivery of such services. In practice, though, is has become evident that rendering services such as clean water, proper sanitation, electricity and health facilities has remained a major challenge for local municipalities across South Africa. For the majority of local municipalities, the IDP has apparently become business as usual rather than an enabling instrument and process.

The article argues that despite its inherent goodness, the integrated development planning process has introduced unprecedented challenges in service delivery for local municipalities. The article shows that most municipalities do not conduct the integrated development planning process as dictated by legislation. The reasons for the apparent half-hearted application of the integrated development planning process vary from one municipality to another. However, the core challenges for almost all the municipalities are in the integration of community participation and the prioritisation of the people's felt needs in the municipality's integrated development planning process. The article concludes that the service delivery challenges faced by municipalities in South Africa could be addressed if clear strategies are formulated to strengthen community participation and integration with other stakeholders in the integrated development planning processes.

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