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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 will receive their payments soon.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Department of Social Development (DSD) said the payments will be received in the next few weeks.

The DSD acknowledged that the process for payments of outstanding applicants was taking longer than expected, but emphasised that all processes must be adhered to accordingly.

The department said all provinces have now engaged their Provincial Treasury’s for roll-overs and this process is currently underway. In addition, the department also noted with concern that some people have incorrectly said that there has been no communication and that no ECD service has been paid.

“The Department of Social Development issued a media statement on the ECD stimulus package on 16 April 2021 to provide an update on the status of applications for the ECD ESRF. In this regard, the department indicated that a major challenge in processing outstanding applications was, inter alia, due to a number of errors wherein applicants either incorrectly captured the identity numbers of their staff that they had applied for 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,“ it said.

The DSD added that it has actually made 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 encouraged ECD services to review the status of their application using their reference number on www.ecd.gov.za, and should they need to make any further enquiries, these can be directed to ecd@dsd.gov.za or ecdstlmulus@dgmt.co.za.

The department said it will continue to work with all its partners to support the implementation of the ECD stimulus relief fund and respond to challenges experienced by the ECD services. It will also provide regular updates to the ECD sector on the status of the ECD ESRF through various mechanisms.

“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.

SAnews.gov.za

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