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Masiphumelele has a new early childhood development (ECD) centre, thanks to a joint effort by Masicorp and the City of Cape Town.

The centre is based in the old farmhouse at the northern end of Masiphumelele on City of Cape Town land and had previously run as a pre-school.

In 2012, the City of Cape Town asked Masicorp to make the original pre-school sustainable and to bring it up to the required standards, said Masicorp spokesperson, Paul Geiss.

He said that Masicorp had extensively renovated the farmhouse and created an additional eight classrooms as well as other facilities.

As a result, the pre-school now has space for about 160 children and includes a Grade R class.

“This has been a wonderful experience for all of us involved and we are very proud of our new school,” said principal, Lindi Hangana.

The whole project cost R4.6 million, of which R4.1 million was raised by Masicorp from donors in South Africa, USA, The Netherlands and UK.

The City of Cape Town made a R500 000 contribution and will continue to support the pre-school with development and building maintenance costs.

On Friday March 4, the City of Cape Town officially took ownership of the centre.

“We would like to thank Masicorp for their generous donation,” said Suzette Little, the City’s mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development.

“Masiphumelele has been identified as an area with a great need as a result of the growing population.

“We envisage that in the next few years we will add more City-owned ECDs to the list.

During this time we will also continue working closely with private facilities to ensure that they comply with norms and standards designed to give children an equal footing.

“It really cannot be emphasised enough: what we invest in our children in their formative years will be a major factor in terms of how they perform when their formal schooling career starts,” she said.

“This has been a great example of the benefits that can come from public-private partnerships and having a good cause that has inspired and enthused our many donors,” said Andrew Smith, president of Masicorp. “We are delighted to have been of service to the community.”