Competition Commission to clamp down on schools with exclusive uniform contracts

Competition Commission communications head, Sipho Ngwema says most private and former Model-C schools have not yet complied with the Act in terms of the sale of 'generic' school uniforms.

He says the majority of schools claim that they have not seen nor received a circular sent to them by the Department of Education which stipulates the terms of the sale of school uniforms.

The circular states that the uniform must be as generic as possible and should be available from as many suppliers as possible, says Ngwema.

Read: Claims of kickbacks paid to schools implicated in uniform price fixing

There must be a competitive bidding process which leads to a contract and the contract must be of a limited duration.

Sipho Ngwema, Head of Communications at Competition Commission

Those things are currently not happening, meaning most schools still have exclusive contracts with suppliers ...In fact one of the contracts dated back to 1974.

Sipho Ngwema, Head of Communications at Competition Commission

The exclusive contracts mean that parents are exposed to higher prices and coaxed to buy from one supplier, says Ngwema.

He says the investigation into this matter will be concluded in the next few weeks and a decision would be made in terms of which steps to take for those who are in breach of the Act.

One of the instruments would be to be to fine those who are in breach of the Act. Secondly, we will refer them to the tribunal for prosecution.

Sipho Ngwema, Head of Communications at Competition Commission

We have many things that we can do and the law is on our side in terms of we can fine up to 10% of the revenue.

Sipho Ngwema, Head of Communications at Competition Commission

So far the Commission says there has been a lot of cooperation from school principals and suppliers.

To hear more of this conversation with the Competition Commission with regards to school uniforms, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Competition Commission to clamp down on schools with exclusive uniform contracts


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