The Department of Social Development has extended the Early Childhood Development – Employment Stimulus Relief Fund (ECD-ESRF) application deadline from 19 February 2021 to 26 February 2021.
The one-week extension is however less than the two weeks the ECD sector, represented by C-19 People’s Coalition’s ECD & Basic Education Working Group, had requested on Thursday.
“The ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund will not reach the targeted 108,833 ECD workers if the Department of Social Development does not extend the application deadline. An additional two weeks is requested, pushing the deadline to Friday, 5 March 2021,” C-19 spokesperson Colleen Daniels-Horswell said.
In a statement on Friday, the Department said a new web-form, which is available in three other languages apart from English, is now available on the www.ecd.gov.za website to make applications easier.
The form will allow applicants to save or update their applications and check their application status using their reference number. All types of ECD services, whether registered, conditionally registered or unregistered, as well as centre and non-centre based services are eligible for funding, the Department said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund in October last year. It is aimed at providing income support to ECD practitioners affected by the impact of COVID-19.
The C-19 coalition claimed as of 15 February 2021, out of 29,836 ECD principals/owners who had started the application process, only 9,717 people had successfully completed their applications.
Over 16,000 applications received
However, the Department said it had received a total of 16,114 applications, with 74,525 ECD employees registered, as of 17 February 2021.
“As a further support mechanism, the department, in partnership with the DG-Murray Trust, has made available 135 non-governmental organisations and 2,236 Harambee youth (who are distributed throughout the country) to assist ECD services to apply,” it added.
ECD services can approach the local offices of provincial Departments of Social Development for assistance. Alternatively, they can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the call centre on 0800 089 666.
The Department said it was “encouraged by the response in the number of applications received to date and wishes to express its appreciation to the ECD sector and its partners in heeding the solidarity call to assist ECD services to access this much needed support.”
“ECD services that have not yet applied are requested to do so by the extended closing date of 26 February 2021,” it concluded.