Dozens of parents and their children flocked to School & Leisure in Rondebosch to purchase school clothes for the upcoming school year. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA
Cape Town - With the first day of school just around the corner, parents are scrambling to get their children's school uniforms.

The cost of uniforms always rears its head at this time of year, but retailers say they are trying to keep the costs down.

“It will always be an issue, but we believe in providing quality to our customers.

"Our quality of uniform is what I believe to be top-notch and we have not received any complaints from parents,” School & Leisure floor manager Zenobia Farmer said.

She said they had been busy since last November.

“It will continue to be this busy until February, once all the parents find placements for their children and everyone is settled in.”

The Competition Commission gazetted a memorandum of understanding with the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools that spells out broad co-operation, but also zooms in on the issue of school uniforms, in November 2018. The commission, since 2016, has been investigating the practice of schools appointing exclusive suppliers for uniforms, or elements of uniforms, that pupils are obliged to buy.

According to the living conditions survey from Statistics SA, which gives an insight into how South Africans spend their incomes, a household spends R2531 per annum on education on average, which accounts for 2.45% of the total household consumption expenditure.

The SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has strengthened its call for value-added tax (VAT) to be scrapped on school uniforms and for an end to supplier monopolies for public schools.

“We applaud the recommendations of the independent panel as they'll bring much relief to the poor already burdened by rising inflation compounded by the triple challenges of grinding poverty, rising unemployment and widen- ing inequality,” Sanco national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said.

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Cape Argus