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ECD centres demand release of Covid-19 Stimulus Funds

The Centre for Early Childhood Development, which has been at the forefront of the call for the Stimulus to be released, is set to hand over a memorandum to the Presidency and DSD. Picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

The Centre for Early Childhood Development, which has been at the forefront of the call for the Stimulus to be released, is set to hand over a memorandum to the Presidency and DSD. Picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Mar 17, 2022

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Cape Town - Disgruntled Early Childhood Development (ECD) stakeholders and supporters have vowed to conduct their planned protest this afternoon at Parliament against any more delays in the payment of the ECD Stimulus Relief Fund.

This, despite communication from the Department of Social Development stating that the national government had relinquished the responsibility of verifying the details of ECD centres and processing the respective payments to provincial DSDs.

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The Centre for Early Childhood Development (CFECD), which has been at the forefront of the call for the Stimulus to be released, is set to hand over a memorandum to the Presidency and DSD.

In its memorandum, CFECD is demanding that the government pay out the outstanding ECD relief funds by March 31, 2022, before the Department of Social Development (DSD) loses over R250 million at the end of this financial year.

CFECD Director Professor Eric Atmore said: “Many staff members have had little to no income for the past two years and are struggling to put food on their tables and pay for basic needs and they truly require emergency relief funding. .

“The payment is a year late, over 50% of applicants are still waiting. This protest is on behalf of all provinces ,” Atmore said.

An ECD centre in Ottery picket. Pic Supplied

Meanwhile, Western Cape Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said the DSD is in the process of arranging the payment process of the funds through its service provider.

Fernandez said: “We will be meeting with our appointed service provider this week to discuss the arrangements that need to be made to ensure that the remaining payments take place as swiftly and effectively as possible…

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“We wish to assure the ECD sector that the payments of the ECD Stimulus Relief Fund will extend beyond the current financial year and will not be impacted by the ECD migration from Social Development to the Department of Basic Education in April,” she said.

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Cape Argus

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