Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, in conjunction with the department of social development, commenced a citywide operation to inspect childhood centres around East London last week.
The operation is targeted at crèches in the Southernwood area. “We are conducting an operation to look into the state of safety in childhood centres, particularly in Southernwood and around Buffalo City,” said BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya.
“This is based on one of the incidents that took place in which children lost their lives, we want to make sure that we bring the childhood centres to book.” He said
As previously reported by the Daily Dispatch (‘Parents demand truth’, September 10) two infants, Ezam Thabeng and Kwahlelwa Ndongeni died under mysterious circumstances at Happiness and Excellence Day Care Centre in Southernwood.
“However, it is not all smooth as the first crèche visited initially refused our team entry. We will be activating our Fire and Law Enforcement to gain entry in any establishment that is not complying.” Ngwenya said.
The municipality said it would leave no stone unturned to bring to book crèches that were operating outside the city’s bylaws and putting children’s lives in danger.
“We are looking into a number of areas to ensure that the centres comply. “They need to be registered, they need to comply with bylaws in terms of our standards and safety issues. What we found in the ones that we’ve inspected so far are some of the transgressions in as far as the number of children are concerned, the nutrition given to children, the hygiene of mattresses, as well as the points of entry in the case of emergencies.”
Ngwenya said a number of outreach programes would be arranged during October, which has been declared Early Child Development (ECD) Month.
The department said it had also done its own site visit to the centre and homes of the toddlers. “Any person who wishes to operate an early childhood centre is mandated by the Children’s Act to register as a partial care facility in terms of Section 80 of the same Act. Also, the centre must meet the national norms and standards under Section 79 of the same Act.”
To carry out the regulatory mandate, the department said it is working closely with other stakeholders, including the departments of Education, Health and local government.