Day care centres face cash crunch because of relief funding delays
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THERE is an outcry over delays and red tape as cash-strapped day care centres are struggling to access R53 million in Covid-19 relief funding.
MEC for Social Development Sharna Fernandez said in a statement that the Early Childhood Development centres were struggling to access the Presidential Employment Stimulus Relief Fund which had proven to be dysfunctional.
According to the department of the 3 159 applicants from the Western Cape, only 1 120 were approved by the national department. And with the R53 million received by the provincial government, R18.7 million has been paid out to R972 ECD sites affecting 4 477 staff members.
“Thousands of ECD centres in the Western Cape have been left in the dark for months-on-end as to whether their applications for the fund have been successful or not. To make matters worse, the National Department of Social Development has failed to communicate effectively to the sector about the related challenges they are facing in this regard,” she said.
Fernandez said her department was unable to process payment for applicants who had not been approved, which has delayed turnaround times.
“I am again calling on Minister Lindiwe Zulu to urgently intervene to ensure that there are no further delays in verifying ECD centres that are desperate for the promised support.
“The ECD sector has been particularly hard hit during the Covid-19 pandemic due to prolonged closures. With the help of the ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund, many ECDs will be able to avoid permanent closure.”