Progress: An open opportunity

IN terms of the laws that government this country and municipalities alike, being part of government programmes is not a favour or a privilege but a right. Testament to this are government programmes across all its tiers that ensure that communities are part and parcel of the formation of all its legislations as part of the public participation process.

In local government, the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) sets the tone for communities to actively participate in the prioritisation of service delivery programmes and related expenditure of council’s budget over a three-to-five-year period.

In line with the Municipal Systems Act’s chapter 5 and the Municipal Finance Management Act’s chapter 4, the municipality issued a notice for the public participation process in order to infl uence the IDP.

This follows hot on the heels of a full council meeting held on February 28 where both the draft IDP and the Medium Revenue & Expenditure Framework were presented.

According to the notice, the public participation process will be followed by information-sharing sessions amongst ward committees between 23-20 March.

To fi nd out more about the IDP, this newspaper spoke to the IDP Manager Mr. Siwelile Zimu, who confi rmed that the content that is shared with communities during the public participation process does not originate from the municipal offi cials but it emanates from various platforms within the community and amongst all wards.

“As the IDP business unit, we engage with communities and with every ward councillor to enlist their most pressing service delivery needs in order for these to be consolidated and prioritised.

“Based on this, we are able to determine if the various items can be delivered within the same fi nancial year or if they will be catered for when a specifi c budgetary allocation has been made,” explained Zimu.

He went further to explain the following: “The 2019/20 fi nancial year allocation stands at R512 million and has been allocated as follows:

  • R380 million for Infrastructure services
  • R64 million for Sustainable Development
  • R25 million for Community Services
  • R10 million for the Offi ce of the City Manager
  • R5 million for Corporate Services
  • R27 million for Finance

According to Zimu, these are the funds that will be allocated for capital projects and have no bearing on funds utilised to sustain the day to day running of the municipality. The City Mayor is expected to explain and engage at length during the public participation process about the IDP.

Copies of the draft IDs are available at municipal libraries and in council offi ces at Bombay Road in Sobantu, Ashdown in Imbali, East Edendale, Greater Edendale Area, A.S. Chetty Building [1st Floor] and City Hall where members of the community can get a change to interrogate the IDP as well as make meaningful contributions to it.

As part of the municipality’s programmes, IDP Izimbizos were held and communities got an opportunity to hear what the IDP has to offer as well as make contributions on that which has been left out and needs to be included. Amongst those in attendance of the Izimbizos included the City Mayor, the Executive Committee, local Amakhosi, municipal offi cials and members of the community. What was noticeable about the municipal offi cials is how they were open about the challenges that are faced by the municipality while members of the community shared with the offi cials what they daily challenges are. There was concensus that this year’s Izimbizo took place during very challenging economic conditions.

Government and analysts alike agree that the targeted growth rate in unlikely to be achieved, which will puts a lot of strain on municipalities like Msunduzi as well as on its citizens. While Msunduzi is the capital city, huge parts of its area of jurisdiction remain largely rural and this will make it diffi cult for communities to cushion the tough economic conditions. As things stand, the municipality has come up with programmes that will offset and cross subsidise those communities. The stagnation of economic growth means that the municipality cannot assist communities in the long term, even if it wanted to. Be that as it may, this does not take away the right of communities to make a meaningful contribution to the municipalities programmes as this is not a favour but a right enshrined in the constitution.

The integrated development plan in summary

In terms of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act, all municipalities are required to prepare a and formally adopt IDP’s . Integrated development planning is a process by which municipalities prepare five-year strategic plans that are reviewed annually in consultation with communities and other stakeholders . The aim is to achieve service delivery and development goals in municipal areas in effective and sustainable way. IDP must, among other things, include:

  • the municipal council’s vision for the long term development of the municipality
  • an assessment of the existing level of development in the municipality and an identifi cation of communities which do not have access to basic municipal services
  • the council’s development priorities and objectives, including its local economic development aims and its internal transformation needs
  • the council development strategies ,which must be allied with any national or provincial sectoral plans and planning requirements
  • a spatial development framework
  • the council operational strategies
  • applicable disaster management plans
  • financial plan and budget projection for the next three years
  • key performance indicators and performance targets