Appeal for ECD information to ensure uninterrupted financing
Statement by Bronagh Hammond: Director for Communication, Western Cape Education Department
On 1 April 2022, the responsibility of Early Childhood Development (ECD) was transferred from the provincial Department of Social Development to the WCED.
The WCED is now responsible for supporting, subsidising and regulating the programmes according to the specifications in Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 of the Children’s Act.
The WCED has worked hard to ensure that the shift of the function is a seamless one, and that the required preparation was put in place before 1 April 2022.
One of the main focus areas was to ensure that registered centres receive their subsidies as required without any disruption or delay as a result of the function shift. On 19 January 2022, the WCED wrote to all centres requesting certain information so that we would be ready to fund the facilities in the first pay-run in April 2022.
The WCED is obligated by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) to take effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and losses resulting from criminal conduct. These steps include obtaining written assurance from the ECD centres verifying the bank account and banking details of the centre, before any funds can be transferred. This not only protects the WCED from wasteful expenditure, but also protects the centre from being defrauded by a third party.
The WCED therefore requested the following information from 819 ECD institutions:
- A new bank entity form – completed and signed by the person who has authority to do so.
- A bank confirmation letter from the banking institution.
Since the 19 January 2022 letter, 715 ECD centres returned the required documentation and have been successfully migrated to the WCED and we want to express our sincere appreciation to these centres for cooperating.
Unfortunately, the documentation for 104 ECD centres remains outstanding, despite ongoing calls for them to submit the paperwork. The unfortunate consequence is that without the required documentation, we are unable to make payment to them.
We are therefore making a public appeal for these centres to please contact us as soon as possible so that we can assist them in terms of processing their information – so that they receive their subsidy timeously. (Contact: 021 483 2519 or email Kim.Hendricks@westerncape.gov.za)
WCED ECD staff will also be visiting the centres personally next week to appeal to them to complete this requirement.
A lot of work has gone into the transfer of this function, and we will continue to work hard to ensure it is a success. We cannot, however, process payments that are not in line with our financial regulations, and the receipt of these basic documents will ensure the uninterrupted financing of these centres.