IFP: PARENTS HARD HIT BY EXORBITANT UNIFORM COSTS

 

Hon Les Govender,MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Social Development

 

The advent of the 2020 scholastic year brings with it much anxiety and stress for parents.

The escalating costs of school uniforms and stationery further adds to the financial woes especially against the background of the bleak economic climate, job losses and worsening social conditions.

The Inkatha Freedom Party in KwaZulu-Natal empathises with parents and guardians and calls on school governing bodies to reassess the cost of school uniforms and stationery requirements. Many parents have raised concerns about school uniforms that are available from a selected supplier who has the monopoly which has led to price fixing. It is understandable when a selected service provider is identified to supply items such as school monograms, ties and badges.

National Guidelines on School Uniforms was issued by the Department of Education but some schools still claim that they are unaware of these and continue to appoint selected providers. In its Guidelines, the Department urges schools to discourage the the use of a single supplier and even the Competitions Commission, after research in 2017 has reiterated its call for schools to pursue an open tender process and to make use of generic uniforms that are easily available at various stores at affordable prices.

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 market place. We support the call by the Competitions Commission for school uniforms to be generic and hence affordable. It is unacceptable that some learners drop out of school or do not go to school because their parents cannot afford uniforms. Schools should be places of social wellness and should not encourage a divide between the haves and the have nots.

We urge parents to attend governing board meetings where decisions are taken and to liaise with schools should they have difficulties in procuring the prescribed uniforms.

The IFP strongly discourages the practice of taking loans in order to purchase school uniforms and stationery.

Contact:
Hon Les Govender,MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Social Development
083 974 4894