Durban — There are calls for a full audit of all early childhood development (ECD) centres in KwaZulu-Natal after police and social workers removed 26 children from an illegal daycare centre in Pietermaritzburg last week.
According to some news reports the social workers were greeted with squalid conditions, a makeshift window covered with a blanket, and a putrid smell at a dilapidated building in Church Street.
It has been a year since ECD centres were moved from the ambit of Social Development to Education, and it is unclear if there was ever an audit of these facilities and their compliance levels.
The DA’s Mmabatho Tembe says they believe that the rise of these illegal and non-compliant ECD centres poses a threat to children’s lives.
Referring to last week’s incident, she said it clearly showed that our children were easy targets for opportunists, so the authorities must ensure all non-compliant daycare centre were shut down.
“We call on the MEC of Social Development to work very closely with other governmental departments to find out which of these centres are illegal and unregistered and continue with the operation of closing them down so that the most vulnerable children are protected,” said Tembe.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Development in KZN has appealed to parents to conduct their research first before settling on a daycare facility.
The department’s spokesperson, Mhlabunzima Memela, said: “One of the requirements is that when you run a daycare centre, it must be properly registered and the people who are operating that centre must be the people who have gone through all the processes as well.”
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