Parents are trying to build a new day care centre for their children. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendricks

In Jarha village near Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape, a sheep shearing shed is being used as a day care centre for more than 50 children. The small community has been struggling for years to build a proper day care centre.

The roof of the shearing shed leaks when it rains. The floor is dusty and there are no toilets. Children relieve themselves at the back of the shed. It has two rooms, a kitchen and a classroom. There are a handful of chairs and two mattresses.

In the past, when parents went to Cofimvaba to visit the clinic or to look for work they used to leave their children alone at home. For a while a house was used as a day care centre, but then its owner returned from Cape Town. For the past eight years, the shearing shed has been used.

Nosandile Bangani with some of the children she looks after in a shearing shed at the Zukhanye Day Care Centre.
Nosandile Bangani with some of the children she looks after in a shearing shed at the Zukhanye Day Care Centre.

Nosandile Bangani, who started the Zukhanye Day Care Centre, charges R30 per child per month, but many parents struggle to pay even this amount. The money is used to buy additional food and to pay for two teachers. Each child receives R15 a day for food from the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development.

Bangani fears the department will one day close the centre as the shed isn’t a suitable facility.

“We can’t buy more furniture because there’s no space to put it and when the farmers want to use the shed we have to clear everything,” says Bangani.

Between October and January the shed is used by sheep farmers for shearing.

The day care centre then relocates to private houses if they are available.

The community is struggling to complete the construction of a proper day care facility. Community members contributed R10 each. The money was used to make building blocks and lay a foundation.

“There were people who volunteered to build blocks using soil and water. We managed to start the foundations using the soil blocks but heavy rains destroyed everything,” she said.

Ward Councillor Andile Yamile said he had applied but had (by October 2018) not received any funds from Intsika Yethu Local Municipality to help build a centre.

Municipality Community Work Programme Coordinator Masonwabe Tikana said he is aware of the application and the CWP Implementation Agent is still in discussions on how they going to assist.