Evaluation of the long-term development framework (LTDF) : a case study of eThekwini municipality's integrated development plan.
The research study emphasizes the significance of public participation in integrated development planning at the local level of government in South Africa. The introduction of a democratic dispensation highlighted the idea of public participation and placed it in the spotlight. The typology is described and presented within the locus and focus of municipal strategic management, and the context and operation of development planning in the current local government dispensation. The literature review presents a theoretical analysis of the local government systems and processes necessary for enhanced citizen participation, and further examines integrated development planning as a strategic communication tool that emphasizes the social praxis of ongoing dialogue with local communities. Furthermore, a concentration on public administration within municipal strategic governance, integrated development planning and public participation will facilitate an in-depth coverage of materials relating to developmental governance within the current context in South Africa. Much has happened to affect the field of local government in South Africa. Of significance, is the impact of public participation via integrated development planning. An integrated development plan is therefore regarded as a strategic management tool that serves as a guideline and informs all planning activities, outcomes, outputs and impact of a municipality. The emphasis, therefore, of this research is centred around an evaluation of eThekwini Municipality's strategic plan focusing on public participation in its integrated development plan which feeds into its Long Term Development Plan (LTDF) for 2020, an analysis of the roles of key stakeholders in the political-management interface between the Council and local communities, and the integration of municipal resources in its long-term planning activities and developmental outcomes. This enquiry therefore culminated in an extensive literature review of municipal strategic planning in eThekwini Municipality within KwaZulu-Natal. Citizen participation through the integrated development plan ought to be viewed as simple and uncomplicated, and is aimed at increasing levels of education and literacy amongst local communities. To this end, the Municipality focuses its integrated development plan on Umsebenzi (Keeping You Informed). Through its strategic approach that "citizens are the centre of the focus, and not an add on through mere political rhetoric", the integrated development plan can serve as an archetype of strong civic-focused leadership. Moving beyond urban pathologies and local bureaucracies and despite a promising and sophisticated institutional framework for public participation, there is still a lack of participation in the local government structures. One of the factors that help to make the public participation cliché move beyond mere lip service is active engagement or holistic integration. The research examines and analyzes some of the factors for poor or non-performance in the municipal dichotomy, and the dynamics of public participation in integrated development planning amidst metropolitan urban management. The research arrays the study in a framework that leads to some key recommendations, and brings the following observations to light: • Ensure that the municipal functionaries and the local communities are oriented for more constructive and robust engagement of civil society issues; • Investment in strengthening local governing capacities because municipalities need increased emphasis on strategic planning as opposed to master-planning mechanistic models; • Focus on pragmatism and the promotion of joint learning through genuine interaction with local communities using the bottom-up approach as opposed to a top-down approach; • Undertake research and take proactive steps to manage dynamic climate change in response to economic and socio-environmental needs and sustainable development; • Facilitate social programmes which will emphasis and illustrate the potential development axis, and serve as connexions aimed at addressing grassroots issues and delivering visible and practical outcomes via the integrated development plan, and • Establishing a co-operative community culture invoked by civic pride and public involvement. From the afore-going discussion, the research emphasizes that each trait and focus of development is a distinct variable, and can lead to a new kind of experimentalism when working with local communities, which can contribute to mutual enrichment for urban efficiency and community satisfaction. The outputs of strategic interventions by municipalities affect the communities and help shape their subsequent inputs. Finally, the satisfaction of public desires depends on aspirations, as well as achievements.