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A fifth of all Western Cape early childhood development (ECD) centres have yet to be registered, the Democratic Alliance said on Thursday.
Provincial DA health spokeswoman Anroux Marais said 20 percent of centres had started the registration process three or more years ago, but had yet to be put on the roll.
About 500 ECD centres had waited over a year to be registered.
In total, about 1638 centres were operating without being registered, a crucial step in ensuring the centre complied with social development standards and that the staff were above board.
ECD centres offered child-caring and development services from birth to school-going age (seven), and could include a creche, pre-primary school or home-based intervention.
Marais said a vital step in the registration process of these centres was being overlooked.
Staff had to get clearance certificates to prove they were not on the National Register for Sex Offenders (NSRO).
“This is a crucial prerequisite, which is being insufficiently adhered to.”
The certificate had to be obtained from the national justice department, often delaying the registration process.
Marais said a provincial NSRO subsidiary, or separate list, should be created to lessen the delay.
There was a possibility that despite the lack of clearance certificates, unregistered centres would continue to operate.
She said this could open up children to “dangerous elements”.
A system should be put in place to monitor unregistered centres, she said. - Sapa