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30/11/2016: City announces expansion of ECD Progamme
30 November 2016
Today we confirm our partnership with Hollard Trust to fast-track the expansion and improvement of the Early Childhood Development progammes in our City.

I am delighted that this is the realisation of one of my key promises during the election campaign. I promised to work with the private sector to establish Early Childhood Development Centres in townships across our city where children will receive a nutritious meal, love, and a basic pre-school education. 

This project is particularly close to my heart. Growing up in poverty I knew that education was the way I could free myself and I have been saddened to see how millions of our children are being failed by an education system that for a number of different reasons, has become largely dysfunctional.

We need interventions to provide young children from disadvantaged backgrounds with quality care, allowing their parents to pursue work opportunities knowing that their children are in a safe learning environment. 

Across the globe there is a growing realisation about the importance of early childhood development programmes as critical to the education of our children.

The Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Margaret Chan called investing in young children “a moral, economic and social imperative.”

Further to this, a United Nations study notes that “brain development is most intense during early childhood” and that early interventions through education can lead to “a lifelong capacity to learn, adapt to change and handle adversity.”


The quality of early childhood education in South Africa is another indictment on the way in which money, resources and community goodwill have been squandered at national, provincial and local government levels.

Prof Eric Atmore, director of the Centre for Early Childhood Development in Cape Town, has stated that, “My concern is that the political will to implement policy does not appear to be there. There is no history or evidence of government putting substantial resources into early childhood development.”

This is shameful and our government has been failing our children for far too long. It is time for us to act and ensure that this neglect and indifference comes to an end.

As a local government, we are aware of the fact that education is not among our primary responsibilities. 

However, where we can make a difference – and where we will make a difference – is in the field of ECD Centres. 

Here we can expand the number of facilities that are available, improve the quality of teaching and contribute to better outcomes for children who are within the system. Especially children in our most disadvantaged communities who have suffered from decades of neglect.

There can be no doubt that the overwhelming majority of parents in this city share one common wish for the future – that their children will one day enjoy a better life than what the current generation is experiencing. 

We all know this can be achieved through investment in education. 

As a City, we are responding to the expectations of our citizens by extending the reach of ECD centres and improving the quality of education offered to our children. Our studies show that in 17 priority wards identified in a survey, there are over 50 000 children who do not have access to ECD programmes.

The same study highlights major issues relating to the physical safety of our children at existing centres. More than 70% of facilities do not have approved building plans; 77% do not have health permits; 85% do not have fire clearance certificates.

Similar concerns exist about the qualifications of educators, the programmes offered by schools and the poor outcomes resulting in children who are in no way ready to enter the formal schooling system. 

This is simply unacceptable and it will be priority of our administration to turn this around. 

Four departments in the City are currently working together to design an early childhood development compliance process and a manual to assess the existing facilities, to turn them into a safe environment and to ensure that parents receive value for the money that they spend.

This is the reason why our partnership with the Hollard Trust is of such importance. The Hollard Trust is an organisation with a successful track record of investing in programmes that improve the long-term prospects for the current generation of young South Africans – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Through its Kago Ya Bana programme, it offers support to municipalities, provinces and communities to build capacity and develop the critical skills needed to improve the quality of pre-school education. 

By giving our children the opportunity to participate in quality learning activities, we improve their developmental prospects and potential to grow into job creators and entrepreneurs, rather than passive recipients of government welfare programmes.

In doing so, they will have independence and realise true freedom and true human dignity.

We have set a target of ensuring that 400 non-compliant ECD centres across our City are compliant with land use by-laws by June, 2017. 

In the past two months we have already made contact with 155 such centres and 115 have now become compliant. I would like to congratulate MMC Phalatse and her department for this great work.

In addition, through Hollard Trust’s Hub and Spoke Model, we have a target of ensuring that an additional 6000 children are included in the ECD programme by June, 2017.

Finally, through Hollard Trust’s Smart Start Programme, we have a target of training 3800 ECD practioners by June 2017 which will provide them with the necessary skills training to ensure quality learning for our children.

Over 300 000 children do not have access to ECD programmes in our City. In partnership with Hollard, we are committed to drastically reducing this figure during my term in office and we will ensure that our budget next year reflects this commitment.

I want to express my appreciation towards the Hollard Trust and the many other private sector institutions and community-based organisations, who are responding to the educational needs of our country. 

We will work with the Hollard Trust to eradicate the red tape, accelerate the decision-making process and create the environment within which they are able to implement their highly-valued programmes.

I have no doubt that this partnership with the Hollard Trust will bring about major benefits and opportunities to the thousands of children in Johannesburg. 

It will provide them with access to quality ECD programmes which in turn will allow them to contribute and be a part of a prosperous future for our City.

Councillor Herman Mashaba
Executive Mayor
City of Joburg

For further information, please contact:

Gabu Tugwana
Spokesperson
Office of the Executive Mayor
City of Johannesburg
Tel: 011 407 7040, Cellular: 082 495 5673, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Last Updated on 30 November 2016