Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said while her department prioritised relief for the impact of COVID-19, she welcomed the alcohol restrictions that had been imposed.

She held a media briefing on Friday on the department’s response and operations during the level 4 lockdown.

Zulu said it was proven with the previous lockdown that alcohol restrictions decreased gender-based violence and trauma cases that put pressure on the health system.

She said the economy was taking strain, but the department would first ensure that vulnerable households got food.

Zulu said non-profit organisations were crucial as partners for the department’s response, but they should ensure that they were compliant.

“Our provincial departments are making progress with the transfer of funds to NGOs, whose efforts are more important than ever during this pandemic. However, we are mindful that some provinces are experiencing delays attributed to system change in finalisation of service level agreements and human resource strategies, among others,” Zulu said.

At the same time the minister said the presidential proclamation transferring early childhood centres to the Department of Basic Education was passed on Thursday.

Early childhood centres have come under the spotlight with the surge in cases of children being abused and centres that operate without registration and hire staff not vetted on the child protection register.

Some centres have inadequate staff to look after the children but shutting them down has been an uphill battle.

Zulu said the handover had begun but would be fully effective from 1 April 2022.

“I’d like to inform members of the public that the presidential proclamation on the transfer of ECD functions from the Department of Social Development to the Department of Basic Education was published yesterday, 1 July 2021. Our joint teams will iron out all outstanding matters to ensure a smooth transition,” she said.


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