By JONATHAN WALTON
“This document is full of omissions. There are no reference numbers for the projects. Some of the budgets shown have been spent, others are future expenditures. Columns for expenditure in years ahead are blank. Most of the spreadsheet is empty. The only things shown are major infrastructure grants from external sources. Makana should plan to spend 5% of its own budget on capital projects (roughly R17 to R20 million per annum). There should be a budget allocated to ‘Good Governance’, especially after three successive AG disclaimers. Future plans for increased public participation and engagement have no budget. it seems Makana, with an inflated wage bill, has given up any plan to make capital investments along with government guidelines. The annual overtime bill more or less equals what Makana should be spending on capital projects from its own budget.”Tim Bull, Makana Residents Association
In the March 2022 council meeting, the Municipal Manager and Integrated Development Planning (IDP) Officer[i] tabled a poorly prepared and highly questionable draft IDP document for consideration and resolution.
The draft IDP report that was presented is riddled with grammatical errors and entirely without any perspective. The unlawfully removed MCF councillors quickly assessed that the poorly-prepared draft IDP document was not credible or worthy of being tabled for consideration. It was easy to spot, for instance, that the social and economic profile and demographical data sources cited in the draft IDP document were outdated and made no sense.
The MCF representatives on the Council immediately appealed to the Speaker to withdraw the draft IPD document, which did not conform with the Local Government: Planning and Performance Management Regulations (2001)[ii] and Chapters 4 and 5 of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act (2000)[iii].
What are integrated development plans (IDPs)[iv]? An IDP encompasses all of a municipality’s goals and objectives and social development in the short, medium and long term. IDPs are meant to outline strategies to manage municipal finances to facilitate everything from basic services provision to infrastructural development, improved spatial planning and even disaster management. They should drive the actions of the Council for its term.
Section 26 in the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act prescribes the following core components for an IDP:
- “The municipal Council’s vision for the long-term development of the municipality with particular emphasis on the municipality’s most critical development and internal transformation needs;
- an assessment of the existing level of development in the municipality, which must include an identification of communities which do not have access to basic municipal services;
- the Council’s development priorities and objectives for its elected term, including its local economic development aims and its internal transformation needs;
- the Council’s development strategies which must be aligned with any national or provincial sectoral plans and planning requirements binding on the municipality in terms of legislation;
- a spatial development framework which must include the provision of basic guidelines for a land-use management system for the municipality;
- the Council’s operational strategies;
- disaster management plans, water service development plans, etc.;
- a financial plan, which must include a budget projection for at least the next three years; and
- the key performance indicators and performance targets.”
Every municipality in South Africa must produce an IDP and Service Delivery Budget Implementation Plan. The municipal budget shall affect the Strategic Focus Areas (SFAs) as contained in the IDP. The Top Layer (TL) Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP) shall contain details on the execution of the budget and information on programmes and projects.
Quarterly, half-yearly and annual performance reports must also be submitted to Council to monitor the implementation of the predetermined objectives as contained in the IDP. The SDBIP is a one–year detailed implementation plan which gives effect to the IDP and Budget of the Municipality. It is a contract between the administration, Council and community expressing the goals and objectives set by Council as quantifiable outcomes that the administration can implement over the next twelve months.
This provides the basis for measuring the performance in service delivery against end-year targets and implementing budget. This plan should stipulate how resources will be allocated and what the elected officials envision for the municipality’s future and its people. The IDP also ensures that departments are working collaboratively on the same goals and that the best strategies are in place to allow for public participation and speedy service delivery.
IDPs focus on developing rural areas and informal settlements where residents face adversity and poor service delivery because they lack infrastructure and apartheid legacies that affect spatial planning. The plan laid out in the IDP should aim to elevate the quality of life for all residents of the municipality, both rich and poor, while still considering the conditions and availability of limited resources. It is a tool for bridging the gap between the current reality and the vision of satisfying the whole community’s needs equitably and sustainably. The IDP will inform the Council’s annual budget. The draft IDP document was not tabled with the budget for the new financial year (2022/2023), Municipal Manager’s Hand-Over Report, or the Executive Mayor’s Annual Performance Report.
Having browsed through Makana’s draft IDP “strategic priority objectives” and previous IDP documents[v], it is evident that the best interests of Makana and all its citizens are not a consideration. The “strategic objectives” are recycled money-spinning procurement infrastructure projects funded by national departments. For whose interests were the “strategic priority objectives” for the next five years determined? In my view, the flawed draft IDP is not in the interests of the people in Makana.
No meaningful engagement or community involvement took place. Makana’s draft planning document is silent on the service delivery needs of all citizens as envisaged through ward-based planning[vi]. There is no reference to specific inputs from any public meetings or any revisions noted as a result of feedback received.
For example, people’s basic service delivery and developmental needs in Fingo and Tantyi Locations, Ghosttown, Vergenoeg and Scotch Farm, Zolani, Phaphamani, Zolani eNkanini, etc., are not included in the draft IDP. Service delivery is non-existent in these neglected areas. The Executive Mayor and ANC Ward Councillors who led the “community consultation” meetings will have to explain to “our people” why their basic service delivery and developmental needs have been excluded from the draft IDP for the next five years.
To be more specific, for the last 20 years, Makana Municipality did not invest any maintenance capital for the crumbling roads and streets in neglected areas, stormwater drains, street lighting, removal of asbestos roofs, asbestos sewer lines in townships, beautification of townships, maintenance of community halls, upgrading of sports fields, recreational facilities for children, etc. The evidence of exclusionary planning is documented in Makana Municipality’s previous Service Delivery Budget and Implementation Plans[vii]
A concerning trend is how the IDP has been used as a “political tool” to punish minority groups in communities that did not vote for the ANC. During the last local government elections, it was brought to the attention of the MCF that certain persons who campaigned for the ANC in Ghost Town, Vergenoeg and Scotch Farm told voters, “If you vote for white political parties, your areas will remain neglected and under-developed.”
The evidence of service delivery and developmental exclusion, particularly in the coloured areas, is contained in the current draft IDP and previous IDP documents. IDP processes in Makana have been used as a “political punishing tool” against minority groups. If a discrimination complaint were reported, Makana Municipality would have a case to answer in a court of law or at the South African Human Rights Commission.
The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (2000)[viii] states that unfair discrimination on the grounds of race is prohibited. The Act also says that “the provision or continued provision of inferior services to any racial group, compared to those of another racial group”; and “the denial of access to opportunities, including access to services or contractual opportunities for rendering services for consideration, or failing to take steps to accommodate the needs of such persons reasonably” is unlawful.
If this view is dismissed, the officials must prove that areas such as Ghost Town, Vergenoeg, Hooggenoeg and Scotch Farm were not excluded from previous IDPs. The last controversial project upgrade was near the Lavender Valley sports field. The estimated project cost to “beautify” the area was R15 million. Sports administrators are still questioning the actual value of the upgrade. I cannot remember any other infrastructure project in the marginalized communities.
For justifiable reasons, the unlawfully removed MCF councillors would have rejected the draft IDP document. An IDP is not a tick-box exercise. An IDP is not a party political tool. It is a serious legal requirement. An IDP is about the quality of people’s lives. The law[ix] provides for the MEC for CoGTA to intervene in a flawed IDP process that is non-conforming. I call on him to take the necessary action.
[ix] Sections 31, 32 and 33 of the Municipal Systems Act (2000)