The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently intervene as the early childhood development (ECD) sector has once again been plunged into a state of confusion and limbo.

On Monday, the Minister of Basic Education (DBE), Angie Motshekga, released updated regulations which indicate that ECDs and pre-Grade R centres linked to schools would no longer open on 6 July 2020, as previously gazetted on 29 May 2020.

This about-turn is purportedly due to the fact that the Minister of Basic Education has no legal or legislative authority to make pronouncements on the reopening of the sector. Therefore, despite some ECDs and pre-Grade R centres being linked to schools, only the Minister of Social Development can make the final decision on the reopening of the sector as a whole.

This means that once again, the Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, is holding up the re-opening of this critical sector. She has already caused much frustration as she continues to dither on releasing a date for private ECDs to reopen.

It is unacceptable that Minister Zulu continues to get away with toying with the education, development and safety of the young children who depend on ECD centres. She has proven time and again that she is in over her head and unable to act in the best interest of those who she is mandated to serve.

Minister Zulu’s disdain and arrogance related to ECDs, has plunged the sector into a crisis as many centres have been forced to make the difficult decision of closing their doors.

The longer Minister Zulu stays at the helm of the Department of Social Development, the more damage she will inflict. Not only on the livelihoods of the workers in the ECD sector, or on the development of young children, but also on the entire social system.