Pretoria, 19 February 2021: “The Department of Social Development has extended the deadline for the closing date of the applications of the ECD-ESRF to the 26 February 2021. In addition, a new web-form (available in three other languages over and above English) to assist with the applications is available on the website. It will allow applicants to save and update their applications as well as check their application status using their reference number.

As at the 17 February 2021, there were a total of 16 114 applications received with 74, 525 ECD employees registered.

As a further support mechanism, the Department in partnership with the DG-Murray Trust has made available 135 non-governmental organizations and 2236 Harambee youth that are distributed throughout the country to assist ECD services to apply. The Provincial Departments of Social Development through their local offices are also available to assist organisations.

Any ECD service that requires such assistance can visit their local Social Development office. They can further send an email to or contact the call centre on 0800 089 666 and support will be provided.

The Department is encouraged by the response in the number of applications received to date and wished to express its appreciation to the ECD sector and its partners in heeding the solidarity call to assist ECD services to access this much needed support. ECD services that have not yet applied are requested to do so by the extended closing date of the 26 February 2021.”

Ilifa Labantwana works to secure an equal start for all children living in South Africa, through universal access to quality early childhood development.


SA children 0-5 accessing early learning    

More than 3.2 million of our
country’s 0-5 year olds still do not
have access to any form of early
learning programme. Nearly 90%
of these children come from the
poorest quintiles,  indicating that
past inequities in access to early
learning programmes remain a
critical challenge.

Only 800 000 are accessing a registered programme and less than 700 000 children who access an early learning programme are government subsidised.


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Ilifa and the Real Reform for ECD campaign

Ilifa and the Real Reform for ECD campaign

Ilifa Labantwana is a founding member of the Real Reform for ECD Campaign. We are backing and supporting this Campaign because we need an enabling legal and regulatory framework to achieve universal access to comprehensive equitable Early Childhood Development (ECD)...

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  • There are 6 million children aged 0 – 5 years in South Africa. 100% 100%
  • 4 million of them receive the Child Support Grant and they need subsidised early learning. 66% 66%
  • Only 1 million of children who need subsidised early learning – or 25% – are receiving it. 25% 25%