Integrated Planning and Implementation: The voice of City Practitioners on Working Together in Government

Global urbanisation is unstoppable. Over the past 30 years, the global urban population has doubled, while Africa’s urban population is set to double over the next two decades. In South Africa, cities have the additional challenge of addressing the legacy of apartheid planning through integrating the different governance and spatial structures of the different municipalities, which were racially segregated and governed and resourced according to discrimination policies and processes. The “one city, one tax base” system aimed to create more integrated towns and cities and a legislative framework that supported the collective, collaborative efforts required to integrate post-apartheid cities. For example, the City of eThekwini (Durban) was created by amalgamating “over 40 local authorities of various forms in the city firstly into a Metropolitan authority and six local substructure authorities, and then into one municipal institution” when eThekwini Municipality was formally established in December 2000.


The integration – spatially, economically, socially, financially and from a service delivery perspective – of cities has been extremely complex and challenging. It is a balancing act of maintaining stability, capital investment and functionality while addressing the need to service, rebuild and restructure cities but with limited resources.


South Africa’s blueprint for urbanisation, the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF), calls for integrated and aligned investments in cities and a shared understanding across government and society about how to achieve spatial transformation and create inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities. However, despite the policy intentions, spatial transformation remains elusive within South African cities.