Commission: Over 30% of investigated schools keeping exclusive uniform contracts

Over 30% of schools investigated by the Competition Commission were found to be involved in anti-competitive behaviour in terms of school uniform contracts.

The investigation into school uniform costs has reached an advanced stage and should be concluded in the next few weeks, says commission spokesperson Sipho Ngwenya.

Nearly 1 600 hundred schools and over 280 governing bodies were part of the probe, which was officially launched in January last year.

The investigation stemmed from a string of complaints over exclusive contracts many schools have with some suppliers.

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

Ngwenya advises that exclusive contracts are unlawful and many have resulted in exorbitant uniform prices.

Ngwenya explains that the investigation findings will be followed by key announcements and recommendations.

Through the survey that was done, more of 30% of schools did not comply. They still had exclusive contracts that had not gone through a transparent process.

Sipho Ngwenya, spokesperson for the Competition Commission

A number of these contracts were pre-selected suppliers that did not go through any bidding processes.

Sipho Ngwenya, spokesperson for the Competition Commission

We will be making announcements that will try and nip the conduct in the bud and ensure that everyone falls in line with the law.

Sipho Ngwenya, spokesperson for the Competition Commission

School uniforms should be generic and be obtainable at as many suppliers as possible. There should be bidding for the awarding of contracts.

Sipho Ngwenya, spokesperson for the Competition Commission

The commission engaged with the Basic Education Department, various schools, governing bodies, parents, uniform manufacturers and distributors.

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