The majority of early development learning centres in Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria, remain shut.

About 50 of them were ordered to cease operation in March this year as the country went into national lockdown.

However, despite the easing of lockdown regulations these centres cannot reopen. Many are told to reapply for compliance certificates a.

But they say the Social Development Department and City of Tshwane health inspectors are refusing to issue them with the required certificates.

Reneilwe Mokoena, who started a creche four years ago, has been forced to lay off workers since lockdown. She says attempts to obtain a compliance certificate have been unsuccessful.

“My frustration is what are we going to do if they do not allow us to open, what are going to eat. No food, No income. I can’t buy anything. I can’t afford to buy electricity. It’s bad I can’t even pay my burial society. Even if COVID-19 can attack me no one will bury me. It’s very bad”.

The Education for Social Justice Foundation has condemned the closure of the centres. The foundation is appealing for the speedy re-openning of the centers. Education activist, Hendrick Makaneta, says the closure has a devastating effect on the sector.

“We think that the Minister should find the way to respond timeuously to the demands of the people so that at the end of the day learners will be able to learn. We are talking here about young people. And they must be given a chance to continue with their education. We think that the sooner the minister can respond to this challenges the better, so that our education is not compromised in this case.”

The closure of the learning facilities has led to job losses for about 300 workers. Three thousand children are also affected as they no longer attend classes. Makanaeta says some of government’s requirements for these centres cannot be justified.

“And of course we are aware that some of the accusations are that there have been no compliance of compliance certificates which the department is delaying to issue. And we think that the department should speed up the process to make sure all the relevant stakeholders receive their certificates to be able to operate without any problem.”

The national department of Social Development did not respond to the SABC News’ request for comment.