DA calls for extension of ECD Relief Fund deadline

Issued by Alexandra Abrahams MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Social Development
18 Feb 2021 in News

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to extend the Early Childhood Development Employment Stimulus Relief Fund (ECD-ESR) deadline and address challenges experienced by the ECD sector in regards to the Fund.

The ECD-ESRF was launched on Friday, 5 February 2020 and is due to close tomorrow, 19 February 2020. This means that the sector has only had 14 days to apply for this relief.

The DA’s letter to the Minister highlights seven major challenges namely:

  1. The short notice period provided;
  2. The requirement for business banking accounts;
  3. Low level of computer literacy in the sector;
  4. Lack of access to resources such as the internet, computers, smartphones and data;
  5. Other official languages not accommodated;
  6. The online application is not user friendly; and
  7. ECD employees are disadvantaged.

If these challenges are not addressed, ECDs which fall within poor wards as determined by the Multiple Poverty Index, will not be prioritized in this ECD-ESRF as per the department’s own priority. These ECD employees and the children they educate will be left behind should these hindrances to funding persist.

All ECDs deserve a fair opportunity to apply, however, the ‘online only’ method; stringent conditions; lack of support and the challenges highlighted above means that countless ECD workers will be excluded from applying for this desperately needed financial relief.

The DA hopes Minister Zulu considers these hindering challenges, addresses it and extends the ECD-ESRF deadline in the interest of the ECD sector and the children of South Africa.