On Monday a Memorandum of Understandings (MoU’s) was signed by Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele and various School Governing Bodies (SGB) associations to regulate the purchase of school uniforms and other goods and services related to learning.
“The signing of the MoU’s is a culmination of years of investigations and advocacy following complaints received from parents who were forced to buy school uniform from [exclusively] selected suppliers,” the Competition Commission says.
Delivering the keynote address, the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the department is working with the Commission to ensure uniforms are affordable and accessible.
“This is very close to my heart and I think anybody who comes from a poor background – like ourselves – or a township will tell you the value of a school uniform,” Motshekga said.
The Minister also alluded that getting rid of uniforms would not be recommended.
“Home clothes are a big problem because they’re a social indicator and if you remove school uniforms you’re going to begin to show which kids come from rich families and those who don’t,” she said.
“Young people are sensitive and if they don’t have designer clothes it embarrasses them… They don’t want to be seen in torn clothes and if they don’t have shoes it’s a big deal and impacts on the image, so they just drop out,” she added.
The Commission says that the MoU establishes cooperation between the parties on three principles, namely education and awareness, addressing anti-competitive procurement process and monitoring and compliance.