Pretoria, 16 April 2021: As previously communicated, applications for the Early Childhood Development Employment Stimulus Relief Fund (ECD-ESRF) had closed on the 26 February 2021. 28 283 applications were received from ECD services for 126,125 employees. After validation of employees the number reduced to 116 578.
Multiple support mechanisms were also put in place in collaboration with our partners for provision of assistance for ECD services to correct their information in order for the Department to move forward with processing of the applications for payment.
To assist with the process of making payments to ECD services that captured incorrect staff ID numbers, the Department had to review its initial plan of making only one payment to an ECD service for all employees to making partial payments to the ECD service for employees that have passed the ID verification process so that the ECD service receives some funding. This means that some ECD services will receive funding for some of their employees while the ECD service is still updating information for the rest of their employees.
In addition, there are a number of ECD services that have failed banking verification and captured information incorrectly. This has prevented the Department from being able to process the applications for payment as speedily as planned. The responsibility therefore lies with the ECD service to correct and update their applications accordingly.
Despite the challenges, we were able to process a number of batches to provinces for payment which relates to 8 087 ECD services and 33 533 employees respectively for a total payment value of R140 369 138. Unfortunately, the Department was unable to process any further payments where applications had bank and staff verification inaccuracies as a result of incorrect information submitted by applicants.
We would like to advise that the Department has removed the cap that was placed where up to only four employees were going to be paid for ECD centres and only one employee was going to be paid for non-centre-based services. Therefore, this means that ECD services that have passed all the necessary verifications will receive funding for all the employees that they applied for. The value of the payment for each employee is R4 186 which is a significant boost to assist the ECD sector which has been one of the hardest hit as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. This payment is directed to the employees of ECD services that have been applied for by the ECD service.
The Department acknowledges that the 2020/21 financial year has ended and this makes it difficult to process any further payments. To address this challenge, the Department has been engaging with the National Treasury for guidance on all supporting documents that would be required to secure finalisation of outstanding payments as soon as possible. However, this process will result in some delays in making payments to ECD services but engagements are ongoing to find solutions to address this challenge.
For those ECD services that have been approved for payment by Provincial Departments of Social Development, the Department will be conducting monitoring visits to organisations that have received this funding as part of our ongoing due diligence processes. ECD services are reminded to keep expenditure reports and payroll records (employment contracts etc. and signed acknowledgement by employees that they have received their funds) so that these can be presented when site monitoring takes place.
The Department would like to again thank the ECD sector for their patience and participation during this process as we remain committed to supporting all ECD programmes that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department once again urges all ECD services who have received notification to update their information and have not yet done so to speedily do so by 07 May 2021.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT