31 July 2020
Dozens of principals of Early Childhood Development (ECD) schools picketed outside the Western Cape Department of Social Development on Thursday, pleading for Covid-19 relief funds.
Margaret Mathe, chairperson of Western Cape Unregistered ECDs, said the government neglects unregistered crèches.
“We hear Angie Motshega outline her plans for schools, but she doesn’t say anything about unregistered crèches. We are treated as if we don’t exist,” she said.
Mathe said staff were battling to survive during lockdown as most of them have not been paid since the end of March.
“The [Covid-19 relief] money will help us pay our teachers. They have no food and money to pay rent. Some of our teachers are resorting to occupying vacant land because they have no money to pay rent,” she said.
Mathe said crèches needed assistance in order to obey Covid-19 regulations. “We can’t operate our crèches without personal protective equipment, otherwise we will get into trouble with health inspectors. Water tanks will also help us especially when communal taps don’t produce water in the townships,” said Mathe.
Joshua Chigome, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Social Development, confirmed that the group gave the department a memorandum, requesting assistance.
“We also forwarded it to the National Department of Social Development, since the requirements of registration of ECDs is legislated in accordance with the Children’s Act. Most of the complaints are relevant to all provinces,” he said.
In a statement on 17 July, Western Cape Minister of Social Development Sharna Fernandez announced the re-prioritisation of R10.2 million for the procurement of PPE for registered and conditionally registered ECD services and programmes in order to prepare sites for re-opening.