SUNDAY TIMES – Competition watchdog probes R10-billion propagandize …

December 18, 2016 - School Uniform

At a heart of a commission’s due review into a R10-billion propagandize uniform attention are long-standing “exclusive supplier” arrangements entered into between propagandize ruling bodies, principals and retailers and manufacturers.

The commission’s warning comes as relatives start shelling out thousands of rands for new uniforms for a 2017 propagandize year – and amid allegations that comparison propagandize executives get paid for disdainful tradesman contracts.

The propagandize uniform attention caters for about 15 million pupils from private and supervision schools.

The elect has perceived scarcely a dozen complaints from relatives forced by schools to buy uniforms from comparison suppliers, a use prevalent in both supervision – especially former Model C – and private schools.

The elect has already met with executives from private-school association Curro Holdings, that is partly owned by Jannie Mouton’s PSG.

It has intervened during Bergvliet High School in Cape Town, Alrapark Secondary in Nigel, Vezimfundo Primary in Delmas, Emmarentia Primary in Johannesburg and Phateng Secondary in Mamelodi, where relatives lodged complaints that uniforms were unaffordable – and usually accessible by one supplier.

In a box of Bergvliet High, a primogenitor complained that a singular wardrobe tradesman granted schoolwear and sportswear for some-more than 60 schools in a Western Cape, and that relatives could not demeanour for cheaper wardrobe elsewhere. The propagandize has committed to reworking a agreement within 18 months.

“The Competition Act empowers a elect to levy an executive chastisement of adult to 10% of a firm’s annual turnover for a prior financial year,” commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele told a Sunday Times.

“In a face of continued defiance, we shall have no choice though to plead a reserve of a act.

“In many instances these agreements are unfixed and some companies have had a disdainful rights for decades,” he said.

Curro CEO Chris outpost der Merwe was taken for comment.

No happy new year for propagandize uniform monopolies

As some schools pierce to cancel their disdainful tradesman contracts, a elect has vowed to take movement opposite those that have not nonetheless acted. The elect has also consulted with some suppliers about allegations that kickbacks are paid to schools.

“This is a effect of a deficiency of a satisfactory and rival behest process,” Bonakele said.

“You concede quality, potency and improved prices. The one into whose path a proposal falls has a giveaway rein and mark-ups are shameful. There’s no courtesy for a struggling parents. That’s because we need open and pure bidding. The consumer will be a biggest customer of a rival process.”

One Curro primogenitor has spent R1500 for a singular set of a summer and winter uniforms. The summer uniform includes a skirt, short-sleeve blouse, hosiery and sleeveless jersey, and a winter uniform consists of a long-sleeve jersey, pants, socks, sleet coupler and fleece jacket. The cost excludes boots and VAT.

The cost of identical products during a Gauteng retailer, though a propagandize branding, is R515 .

“This is a cost for usually a singular day and apparently we can't usually have one uniform. This is madness. Curro owns a propagandize wardrobe association called Grit. They establish their possess prices and afterwards force relatives to buy from them,” a primogenitor said.

A Durban father whose son is going to Glenwood High School subsequent year pronounced he paid some-more than R3,000 for a blazer, tie, tracksuit and sports shirts and shorts.

block_quoteS_start Poor relatives are anticipating themselves messed adult in terms of these uniform stories and therefore it’s vicious that this contingency come to an end.

“The blazer is your standard immature blazer that we could have picked adult from a unchanging store that bonds uniforms though we had to compensate for a branded one during a propagandize shop. It’s a same with a tracksuit and sports rigging – that in serve to carrying a propagandize logo, are a sports brand. There is no reason for this. Of course, we still need to spend some-more income on a basis of a grey pants and white shirts. I’m broke,” he said.

A orator for a Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga, pronounced officials had attempted to intervene, mostly in and with a commission.

“We work together on this matter and we have both oral out opposite it, and even went serve to place journal advertisements in that a elect warned opposite anti-competitive practices,” he said.

A vital Gauteng propagandize uniform manufacturer, who sells usually to retailers, pronounced kickbacks to principals by retailers was “common practice”.

“Bribery of principals to safeguard retailers get a business has been going on for a series of years. It’s a jointly profitable attribute – and a victims are a parents.

“You will find that instead of standardising a uniform to make it some-more careful for a parents, there are nonessential colour changes or new uniform – infrequently in a center of a year. The foe is really high for retailers and that is because we find these disdainful monopolies exist,” a manufacturer said.

He said, however, that while uniform manufacturers and retailers were guaranteed business, vacillating sell rates impacted on a cost of fabric, that could comment for arrogant prices of uniforms. He pronounced a peculiarity of fabric accounted for costly uniforms.

South African Democratic Teachers Union ubiquitous secretary Mugwena Maluleke commended a elect for holding a tough position opposite a disdainful propagandize uniform supply agreements.

“Poor relatives are anticipating themselves messed adult in terms of these uniform stories and therefore it’s vicious that this contingency come to an end.

Consumers contingency take it on themselves to plea these form of practices. It’s something that we as Sadtu don’t support. It’s totally wrong that schools are colluding with suppliers in sequence to lift their profits,” he said.

However, Tim Gordon, CEO of a Governing Body Foundation, pronounced that while a elect should take movement in a eventuality of unfavourable practices, uniform suppliers did not beget most profit.

He pronounced what a elect was doing was laudable, though it should not go so distant as dismissing a judgment of propagandize uniforms.

“I would like to see a ubiquitous uniform items, like a longs, shirts and skirts be accessible anywhere and usually shorten specifying uniform equipment like sports kit, ties and slot badges,” pronounced Gordon.

Major uniform tradesman McCullagh Bothwell, that sells uniforms for some-more than 100 schools, including Crawford , Hilton College and St John’s College, also reserve uniforms directly to schools, that sell them on to a relatives and slot a doing price .

McCullagh Bothwell owners David Walker did not respond to queries.

South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union media officer Nazmia Leite pronounced a physique would co-operate with a c ommission.

“Our categorical regard is that whatever preference gets taken, it contingency have no unpropitious effects on jobs in a industry,” pronounced Leite.

mthethwab@sundaytimes.co.za

 

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