Pretoria - With the new school year kicking off in Gauteng on Wednesday, the related shopping is in full swing, and parents have to dig deep into their pockets.
At Sammy Marks Square in Pretoria, the stores were packed with parents trying to get all the necessary items for their children.
An outlet that stocks uniforms and some stationery from Grades RR to 12 around all provinces for primary and high schools was abuzz with children and parents.
Sinah Masha, a pensioner, said she had started saving for her grandson’s uniform and stationery since last year.
She said she spent about R1 000 for the uniforms and shoes and had budgeted R650 for stationery.
“I managed to buy trousers, T-shirts, socks and vests. We are just adding here and there because he still has jerseys and ties from last year, but so far, so good. I managed to get everything I needed for him,” she said.
Anna Mbana, a hairdresser, said she spent between R1 200 and R1 300 for school attire for her two children. She bought two pairs of trousers, shoes, T-shirts and school jerseys.
“It has been a very challenging year, especially when it comes to finances. Last year was hard, and the times we are living in now are not the same as before, everything needs money.
“I have been saving since November last year. We cannot compromise when it comes to our children and making sure they are fully prepared for the school year,” she said.
Mpho Khutoane said she is excited that her son was going to a new school to start Grade 8, therefore she wanted to make sure she got him everything needed. Her son said he was anxious about going to the new school and could not wait to make new friends.
“Today, I’m buying a new school uniform for my boy child. He is going to start high school, so I have to buy everything from scratch. I want him to look good and feel confident on his first day. I want my son to look good and clean as he is starting his new grade at a new school. I budgeted R3 000 for this, including stationery.
“Right now, things are expensive. This is a setback because even the government does not help us anymore with stationery, but there’s nothing we can do. The cost of living is high.”
Noma Makhanya, floor supervisor at Ackermans, said sales were promising. People were buying a lot of uniforms, so the company was happy their customers were getting what they wanted.
“For the past three years during Covid-19, we experienced a drop in sales, especially the uniforms, but last year it picked up, and we can see that even this year, prices have gone up.”
At Shoprite in the CBD, the stationery section was packed with parents buying all the items for their children.
Sharon Magagula, a mother of four, said she started buying stationery last year because she knew if she waited to buy it all at once, she was not going to be able to afford it.
“We are struggling, and the government is not doing anything to ensure they meet us halfway. When you are working, it’s more like the money you’re working for is a return to business owners, because when you go to work, you use a taxi, you buy groceries and utilities. You are not able to save anything at the end, so I feel like it is getting harder to live these days.
“The government must improve how it handles the revenue because things are difficult, they must make something around the economy because they are killing us,” she said.