IFP is Concerned About Expensive School Uniforms

Jan 11, 2024 | Press Releases

The Inkatha Freedom Party in KwaZulu-Natal, as the Official Opposition is concerned about exorbitant prices for school uniforms after many parents have complained about the exorbitant prices they are forced to pay due to schools entering into evergreen contracts with certain suppliers or else the prices of uniforms sold exclusively at schools.

South African school uniform monopolies are cause for concern to us as the IFP and we believe that corruption is involved in this matter. We are against evergreen contracts between schools and particular suppliers but for parents to buy according to their budget.

The IFP urges schools to call for suppliers to tender for the supply of uniforms in a transparent manner. The present policy used by many schools is anti-competitive and is a barrier to new service providers coming into the marketplace.

What is happening is against the school uniform guidelines issued by the National Department of Basic Education in 2015. The National Guideline on School Uniforms were meant to discourage the use of a single supplier approach, because it adds to parents’ financial burden. In spite of the guidelines, many schools still have exclusive contracts with one or two suppliers. National Guidelines were first published in the Government Gazette in 2006 in terms of the Schools Act. According to these guidelines, school uniforms have an important social and educational objective, but the availability of the uniforms may not restrict access to schools or interfere with anybody’s constitutional rights.

Many people depend on social grants but when you consider school uniform prices, they are more than the social grants that people receive. This results in too many children going to school without shoes because their parents can only manage to buy a few items for them. It also results in many children not going to school because they do not have school uniforms. This has a negative impact on people living in rural areas because they are forced to travel long distances to buy school uniforms in towns and cities where most of the school uniform is available. School uniforms must be available in stores closer to where people live.

The IFP welcomes the announcement by the Competition Commission that it will prosecute schools not following school uniform guidelines.

Contact
Mrs Thembeni Madlopha-mthethwa MPL
IFP Chief Whip in the KZN Legislature and IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Education,
071 884 3844/079 114 3015

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