South Africa: Parents Complain About Price of School-Branded Covid-19 Essentials

analysis

The Competition Commission says schools complied with their agreement to curb the uncompetitive pricing of school uniforms. However, recent complaints from parents indicate that some schools are forcing parents to buy school-branded Covid-19 essentials such as face masks and sanitisers.

Schools that signed agreements with the Competition Commission heeded the commission's call to root out anti-competitive practices on the pricing of school uniforms and the monopoly of supply.

"Since the conclusion of the settlement agreements in 2019, the commission has not received any complaints from parents or any other stakeholders against the parties with whom these agreements were concluded. This is in and of itself an indication that these parties are complying with the order," said the commission spokesperson, Siyabulela Makunga.

Settlement agreements were concluded with the AdvTech Group, St Andrew's School for Girls, Curro Schools and Inspired Schools, as well as the two largest manufacturers and suppliers of school uniforms, Grit Procurement and McCullagh & Bothwell.

The commission's intervention since 2010 was the culmination of a deluge of complaints from parents who flagged uncompetitive prices of uniforms in some schools due to the exclusivity of suppliers.

The commission's investigation revealed that some schools were over-prescriptive and forced parents to...

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