Apart from alleged school uniform corruption, CW said it had been working hard in blowing the whistle on corrupt school principals, teachers and SGB members
The competition watchdog is warning schools and uniform suppliers of collusion and anti-competitive behaviour involving the distribution and sale of uniforms.
The commission said it wanted school uniforms to be reasonably priced and for the competition to be fair.
In a statement issued by Corruption Watch (CW) this week, some school suppliers were said to be colluding with school managements, including school governing bodies (SGBs), in inflating prices on school uniforms.
“Our 2018 Analysis of Corruption Trends (ACT) report highlighted the persistent involvement of school principals, teachers, and SGBs in corrupt practices, including price-fixing,” said CW.
Apart from alleged school uniform corruption, CW said it had been working hard in blowing the whistle on corrupt school principals, teachers and SGB members across the country.
The ACT report also discovered that the most frequent types of alleged corruption reported within schools include embezzlement and mismanagement of funds and employment and procurement irregularities.
“There have been over 26 000 reports from members of the public since our launch in 2012, alleging that there is corruption in our schools, which impacts the lives of millions of children and parents,” said CW.
The Competition Commission said schools needed to adhere to the school uniform guidelines that curb anti-competitive behaviour.
“This is aimed at making sure that schools are compliant with the Competition Act but, most importantly, [that] school uniforms become reasonable and affordable. The probe established that a number of schools still had exclusive contracts with one supplier.
“These contracts didn’t go through a competitive and transparent bidding process,” said Sipho Ngwema of the Competition Commission earlier this year.
According to media reports, the commission reached an agreement with several schools on anti-competitive behaviour. This would bring relief to parents paying exorbitant prices for uniforms.
The accord would see the number of school uniform suppliers increased, breaking what appears to be cartel-like operations.
“This would help parents to get more options for buying uniforms from different school uniform distributors, including affordable retail stores,” said CW.
The watchdog said that a memorandum of understanding was signed in 2018 by the commission and Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools, which was aimed at promoting healthy competition guidelines.
The guidelines for suppliers:
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