The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Sunday called for an end to monopolies supplying school uniforms.
“Exorbitant prices by suppliers are part of strategies used to keep the poor out of well-resourced public schools, Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlangu said as most schools prepare to re-open for the 2018 academic year this week.
“Education authorities must muster the political will to deal with this thorny issue, because school principals, and in some cases school governing body members, are deriving personal benefits from long-term contracts with suppliers,” he said.
He urged the Competition Commission to finalise its probe into the high cost of school uniforms. Influential individuals within school communities were “part of the lobby to maintain expensive uniforms which are in most cases imposed on parents”.
Gazetting regulations prescribing basic uniforms for schools would open empowerment opportunities for co-operatives located within poorer communities. “Piloting this among no-fee public schools will not only create jobs, but also alleviate the heavy burden from the shoulders of poor parents,” Mahlangu said.
He also questioned the rationale behind declaring no-fee schools but still retaining expensive school uniforms that were unaffordable to most parents, especially in this category of school. “The entire value chain has to take into account poverty, unemployment, and inequality within communities,” Mahlangu said. (via African News Agency)