With Early Childhood Development centres already under tremendous financial strain, representatives of different centres gathered outside Parliament on Friday August 21, in an effort to get government to intervene.
More than 300 Early Childhood Development Forum members, dressed in black and yellow, demanded that the government provide them with funds to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) so that they can reopen their facilities as soon as they can.
Nyanga resident and principal Theodora Lutuli, the spokesperson for the C19 Coalition, said ECD facilities had been closed since March with no income.
“We have women in this sector who have not been able to feed their families.
“ECD centres are already under tremendous financial strain after months of receiving no fees from parents because parents in the township pay for the service rendered, and since their children have not been going to school for five months now, there hasn’t been any money coming in.
“Our centres currently can’t open because we don’t have PPE and it will be difficult for us to have our children back because we do not have means to purchase the necessary PPE and we need the government’s assistance.
“We’ve taught our children to love one another and their teachers, we teach them how to be affectionate, give hugs and kisses.
Now with Covid and all the restrictions, it will be hard for them to unlearn those basics, and puts them in danger if those no necessary precautions put in place,” she said.
Friday’s protest took place against the backdrop of a week-long protest by the sector who called on Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu to reconsider her decision to hire 36 000 young people on short-term contracts to check early childhood development (ECD) centres were Covid-19 compliant.
The ECD sector’s position is that government should rather spend the R1.3 billion set aside for this initiative to save 175 000 long-term jobs in the sector.