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Joint statement on Early Childhood Development function shift

The DBE and Social Development (DSD) briefed the joint sitting of the Portfolio Committees on Basic Education and Social Development on 16 March 2021, on the Early Childhood Development (ECD) migration process. Both departments pledged their commitment that there will be no interruption to service delivery during the transition process and that they will continue to work collaboratively to improve access to quality ECD education in providing the best support to children from an early age onwards.

The departments have been collaborating closely towards the realisation of the change. To this end, the two departments have established relevant governance structures, namely; Human Resources; Finance and Budgets; Legislation and Contracts; Immovable and movable assets; Communication and Stakeholder engagement; Monitoring and Evaluation, Data and Information as well as ECD programme implementation. These work streams will ensure a seamless transfer of the functions and will be meeting regularly to provide feedback to the Ministers. In terms of the migration, provisions from both Chapter 5 (only as it relates to ECD facilities) and Chapter 6 of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005) have been identified for transfer from the Department of Social Development to Basic Education.

Based on the recommendation from the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor (OCSLA) the Proclamations have been prepared and will be processed accordingly. The first Proclamation relates to the transfer of the powers and functions to the Minister responsible for Basic Education and the second Proclamation is for the transfer of power and functions to the MECs responsible for Basic Education in each Province. The proclamations further specify that the date of the implementation of the ECD function migration will be 01 April 2022. 

Members of both Committees welcomed the briefing. They have requested amongst other things, that a workshop session be convened to allow for a more in-depth discussion on matters related to ECD policy and programme issues.

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