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.