South Africa: Millions Processed for ECD Relief Fund Payments

The Department of Social Development says a total of R140 369 138 has been processed for the Early Childhood Development Employment Stimulus Relief Fund (ECD-ESRF) payments.

Applications for the ECD-ESRF closed on 26 February 2021.

The department said despite the challenges, it was 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.

The department said 28 283 applications were received from ECD services for 126 125 employees, and after validation of employees, the number was reduced to 116 578.

The department said multiple support mechanisms were put in place, in collaboration with its partners, for provision of assistance to 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 identity (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," the department explained.

May deadline

In addition, there are a number of ECD services that failed banking verification and captured information incorrectly. This has prevented the department from processing the applications for payment as speedily as planned.

The department said the responsibility lies with the ECD service to correct and update their applications accordingly.

In order to enable the processing of the remainder of payments, the department emphasised that it completely dependent on ECD services that have received notifications through SMS to update their details by not later than 7 May 2021.

ECD services can go to www.ecd.gov.za, which will allow applicants to update and correct their applications, as well as check their application status using their reference number.

For failed banking verification, ECD services can go to https://secure.csd.gov.za to update or correct their banking information.

The department's partner, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, will be hosting information sessions which can be accessed on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87228536319?pwd=cnE5S3dCOGIxcXBvdEkzR2ZhOFUrQT09 from Monday, 19 April to Friday, 23 April 2021, from 09h00 - 11h00 daily.

Enquiries can be directed to ecd@dsd.gov.za or ecdstimulus@dgmt.co.za.

All ECD employees to receive funding

The department said it 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.

"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... This payment is directed to the employees of ECD services that have been applied for by the ECD service," the department said.

The department also acknowledged 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 National Treasury for guidance on all supporting documents that are required to secure the finalisation of outstanding payments as soon as possible.

However, the department warned that this process will result in some delays in making payments to ECD services.

Monitoring visits to approved organisations

Meanwhile, the department will be conducting monitoring visits to organisations that have been approved for payment by provincial Departments of Social Development, and have received funding.

The visits are part of the 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 said.

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