Crèche Regulations and Finances

Crèche Regulations

To achieve the level of formality required by the Cape Town government to receive federal funding “partial care centres” or “child and youth care centres” must comply with regulations outlined in Early Childhood Development Policy 2013. ECD facilities that operate along these parameters are eligible to be registered with the City of Cape Town.  Registered facilities that have significant need are also eligible to receive a subsidy provided by the government, which is determined by the provincial Department of Social Development. Alternatively, crèches that meet the majority of the minimum standards can receive a conditional registration certificate allowing them to receive a subsidy so they can meet minimum standards (Early Childhood Development Policy, 2013).The Government of the Western Cape characterizes informal settlements as places of “vitality and opportunity” (A Quick Guide to Dealing with Common Informal Settlement Problems, 2005).

According to the Government of the Western Cape’s A Quick Guide to Dealing with Common Informal Settlement Problems,  it is “unusually inappropriate to apply conventional standards in the provision of facilities within informal settlements.” The City of Cape Town’s Early Childhood Development Policy from 2013 from the City of Cape Town states that regulations are “project specific and more flexible than the regulations that are conventionally applied by the local authority.” These policy exceptions represent a deviation between local policy and regional policy.

Although there may be additional circumstances in play once the team reaches Cape Town, the city officials who will be partnering with the team will provide their own input regarding regulation interpretations. Standards and procedure for registration will change in Cape Town, making it important to adapt to new circumstances once there.

Read more on the city of Cape Town’s procedure on how to apply to register a crèche, ECD centre policy and regulations, and informal settlement regulations guide.




Crèche Finances

Finances are one of the main challenges that informal settlements face. In an informal settlement in the Vaal Region, unemployment rates were as high as 91%, which directly correlates to the mean monthly income, R612.50 (Oldewage-Theron & Slabbert, 2010). Having such limitations due to unemployment, budgeting is very selective. Food and shelter become their primary expenses, leaving education to fall far back into the list of priorities. As seen in the Vaal Region, “the results indicated that the community was a poverty-stricken community, suffering from chronic food insecurity” (Oldewage-Theron & Slabbert, 2010). Due to this extreme case of poverty, financing a crèche poses a challenge for the Flamingo Crescent community.

Crèches can have several sources of income coming from the government, community members, and NGO’s. The government funds various crèches located in informal settlements; however, these have to be officially registered. For some of these crèches, portions of their income is not strictly regulated and is very situational. Oftentimes,  parents will pay a monthly fee that is subject to change based on how much money they have earned and saved.

To control this fluctuation in fee and income, a community based savings program. If run successfully, this program can benefit the community immensely. For example, the community generates valuable social capital through building networks of trust, accountability, and transparency (Ellis, SDI). By utilizing this savings group, the community can become more resilient against poverty.

Communities throughout South Africa have established Savings Groups to build crèches. In December 2011, the Zakheleni informal settlement in South Africa set up a savings scheme to oversee the collection of contributions towards the creation of a crèche. The community was able to contribute R3,250 to the project. In 2014, the Kuku Town informal settlement set up a successful savings group to reblock their community. Savings were recorded in personal savings books which were then deposited in a community savings account. This particular example was successful partly because the community members were open with one another and regular bank reconciliations were communicated to the group. In both communities, it was necessary for the members to put money towards the project, a concept that will remain true for Flamingo. In order for the crèche to be operational, a Savings Group or equivalent programme can be set up to ensure the success of the crèche (Ellis, SDI). This approach was one of the many options we explored before coming to Cape Town.


Early Childhood Development Policy. (2013): The City of Cape Town.
Ellis, B. (2012). SDI South African Alliance. 2014, from
Oldewage-Theron, W., & Slabbert, T. J. C. (2010). Depth of poverty in an informal settlement in the Vaal region, South Africa. Health SA Gesondheid, 15.
Western Cape Government (2005). A Quick Guide to Dealing with Common Informal Settlement Problems.