Durban – The eThekwini municipality has taken a decision to improve early childhood development centres (crèches) in informal settlements in the area."Over 1 100 children from 14 identified early childhood development (ECD) centres will benefit from an initiative to structurally improve these centres in the city," said municipal spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa.Head of human settlements Beryl Mphakathi would co-ordinate the project for informal settlements and under-serviced communities, as per the tabling of a report at a full council meeting on Tuesday."The report grants authority to Mphakathi, to co-ordinate the ECD infrastructure support projects for informal settlements and other under-serviced communities as part of the City’s informal settlements upgrade programme, incremental services programme and integrated residential development programme," said Mthethwa in a statement.Mphakathi would work closely with other municipal units, like Health, Engineering Services, Safer Cities, and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development."Authority was also granted to the Head of Safer Cities, Martin Xaba, to facilitate the engagement with the department of Social Development and Non-Governmental Organisations to improve access to ECD services for vulnerable children within informal settlements and under-serviced communities to help with crime prevention by reducing the exposure of young children to harmful influences and the development of dysfunctional behavioural patterns," said Mthethwa.Engaging private landownersR1.6m would be used for infrastructural improvements at 14 selected ECD centres in Amaoti, north of Durban, and uMlazi, south of Durban.A further R400 000 is allocated for an ECD survey and infrastructure planning in priority informal settlements, Mthethwa said.Meanwhile, the KwaDukuza municipal council agreed last week to engage private land owners - due to non-availability of municipal-owned land - to construct a crèche in the Nyoniyamanzi sub-ward.According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the municipality, it had been allocating a capital budget for the establishment of early childhood development centres over the past few years, as per community needs identified in the Intergrated Development Plan (IDP).It said to date an amount of just over R1.3m for building a crèche had been allocated, however, there has been a concern about land."The municipal manager has been granted authority to engage the private landowners on acquiring the land for the purposes of building the crèche," the statement said.The resolution was taken on Thursday, July 27, during a special council meeting.