This research is based on a conceptual framework that represents the vision of developmental local government as the ideal form of local government envisaged for municipalities in South Africa. A qualitative approach was used to conduct a multisite case study at three Free State Province municipalities in South Africa. It was ascertained that integrated development planning (IDP) is used as a principal strategic planning approach, following a linear process. A more holistic approach to municipal strategy, namely, a growth and development strategy as proposed by the National Planning Commission, is thus not yet fully interrogated and employed. The findings also highlight the dominance of the traditional approach to strategic management and planning by municipalities, factors affecting the effective implementation of the vision of a developmental government, the impact of historical factors including the legacy of the liberation struggle and apartheid on local governance, and the role of ethical leadership and performance management. The findings have implications for both theory and practice since it contributes to an understanding of municipal strategy from its military etymology, as well as identify critical factors affecting the effective implementation of the vision of a developmental local government.