All Early Childhood Development (ECD) services that have applied and meet the criteria for the ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund (ESRF), prior to the closing date should expect to receive their payments in the next few weeks according to a statement made by the Department of Social Development (DSD).
The department acknowledged that the process for payments of outstanding applicants of the ECD ESRF was taking longer than expected but they emphasised that all processes must be adhered to accordingly.
The deadline for payments to be made was 31 March 2021, however many ECD workers did not receive their payment. This caused the early childhood development sector to embark on a three-day national protest on Wednesday 12 May.
The department said that it has engaged with the various Provincial Treasury’s for roll-overs and that the processes for payment were underway. They have noted that the claims that have surfaced saying that the department has made no communications and that no ECD service has been paid yet are incorrect.
When the Department of Social Department provided an update in April concerning the status of applications they said that a major challenge in processing outstanding applications was due to errors in which applicants either captured the identity numbers of their staff incorrectly or provided incorrect banking information.
“Guidance and communication with all affected applications was done on multiple occasions and adequate time was provided for applications to be corrected and the system was left open from 1 March 2021 until 7 May 2021 for this purpose. It must be emphatically stated that unfortunately, the department cannot process any applications for payments if the applications have incorrect information that has not been updated by the ECD services,“ the department said in its statement.
The department added that it had already issued some payments already.
“The unfortunate part was that we were at the end of the financial year which made it difficult to continue paying after March 2021, until all necessary National Treasury processes are concluded, and this is stage we are at currently.”
The department has urged ECD services to check the status of their application using their reference number on the ECD website. If they have any further enquiries they can email [email protected] or [email protected].
The department said that it will work continuously with its stakeholders to support the the implementation of the ECD ESRF and respond to challenges which ECD services experience.
“We would like to thank the ECD sector for their continued participation and patience in this process, and we would like to stress that we remain committed to supporting all ECD programmes as they deal with the impact on COVID-19 on their operations and service delivery,” the department said.