Support for the ECD sector
On 5 February 2021, the Department of Social Development (“DSD”) announced the launch of the (“ECD relief fund”). The ECD relief fund constitutes an emergency relief fund of R 496 million aimed at providing income support to 108 833 ECD workers following the devastation brought about by COVID-19. All types of ECD services are eligible to apply for relief funding, including ECD centres and non-centre based ECD programmes (play groups, toy libraries, childminders and mobile ECD programmes) that are registered, unregistered or conditionally registered. While the ECD sector welcomed the announcement, concerns were raised regarding the short period to within which to apply for funding (initially applicants were given just two weeks to apply) and the onerous and exclusionary conditions attached to applying for relief funding.
To read more about concerns regarding the implementation of the ECD relief fund, read this op-ed and an open letter addressed by the Centre for Early Childhood Development to the Minister of Social Development.
On 19 February 2021, it was reported that the deadline for applications was extended to 26 February 2021, which was subsequently confirmed by DSD. Various other support mechanisms have also subsequently been introduced by DSD to address some of the initial concerns with implementation, including a dedicated support email and hotline service for support with the applicant process. Learn more about these and other support mechanisms here.