Delays in completing Emfuleni ECD centres negatively impact learning and development

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on both the Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Lebogang Maile and the Gauteng MEC for Social Development, Morakane Mosupyoe to speed-up the completion of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in the Emfuleni Local Municipality.

There have been unnecessary delays in completing the following ECD centres; Boipatong ECD, Bophelong ECD, Evaton ECD and Sharpeville ECD. This greatly concerns the DA, as children in these areas are denied opportunities to learn and develop at a younger age.

ECD centres, particularly in the townships, plays a crucial role to serve children from families who are socially, physically, and economically segregated.

According to MEC Maile, there are four ECD centres that have been built in Emfuleni in the past 10 years, that are still incomplete and non-operational.

MEC Maile was responding to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to the MEC, the construction of the ECDs began on 15 February 2014 with Bophelong ECD, followed by the Sharpeville ECD on 29 October 2015, and the Boipatong and Evaton ECDs on 18 January 2016.

Evaton and Bophelong ECD projects are complete, with only land re-zoning and occupation certificates outstanding.

This clearly indicates that these two projects do not comply with the standard building regulations, hence they have not yet been issued with occupational certificates.

The Boipatong ECD is also incomplete with construction still outstanding in one building. The progress has been halted due to the finding of the irregular appointment of the contractor from the Auditor-General’s report.

Due to the delays in completing the Sharpeville ECD project, certain sections of the building have deteriorated requiring further maintenance.

I conducted oversight inspection to the Bophelong ECD, the Boipatong ECD and the Sharpeville ECD, where I found that these ECDs are in a terrible state and lack proper regular maintenance. The pavements are full of weeds and big trees needing urgent removal. The building structure is deteriorating, and the ceiling is starting to fall off. The taps, geysers and electrical cables have been stolen at the Sharpeville ECD, yet there is a security company hired to safeguard the premises.

For far too long, the DA has been warning the Gauteng Provincial Government that delays in completing projects will result in incurring more costs and the projects are more likely to become targets for vandalism and corruption.

The DA will continue to put pressure both on MEC Maile and MEC Mosupyoe to ensure that these four ECDs are completed and handed over to Emfuleni for full utilisation by the community so that our children are well-placed to pursue their learning opportunities in later years.