Ramaphosa stressed unity of the ANC

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - OPINION - – Staff Re­porter

PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa has gone to great lengths this week to stress the unity of the rul­ing party de­spite the di­vi­sions that still ex­ist. Ramaphosa and the rest of the ANC’S na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee have vis­ited dif­fer­ent parts of Kwazu­lunatal to drum up sup­port for the launch of their man­i­festo on Satur­day.

And while Ramaphosa uses the words unity con­sis­tently, he also ac­knowl­edges there are prob­lems that still per­sist. On Tues­day, he told sup­port­ers that while the party had been de­ci­sive in cer­tain ar­eas, their task is in­com­plete.

“We have reached a stage where we have to act with ur­gency and pur­pose. We will ad­dress divi­sion and dys­func­tion.”

It is re­fresh­ing to hear Ramaphosa ac­knowl­edge the faults in the rul­ing party and by ex­ten­sion the faults in lo­cal and na­tional gov­ern­ment. Satur­day’s man­i­festo will be a test of Ramaphosa’s com­mit­ment to re­store the cred­i­bil­ity of the ANC.

He has stated that the party has taken “bold steps to con­front cor­rup­tion and to re­store the cred­i­bil­ity of pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions” and mil­lions of South Africans will want a greater spirit of ac­count­abil­ity and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

This will be cru­cial if Ramaphosa is to lift the coun­try out of the eco­nomic mire and if he is to ful­fil his prom­ise of gen­er­at­ing eco­nomic growth and faster progress. THE COM­PE­TI­TION Com­mis­sion of South Africa has urged schools to ad­here to the school uni­form guide­lines which are aimed at curb­ing anti-com­pet­i­tive be­hav­iour at schools.

A state­ment is­sued by the com­mis­sion yes­ter­day stated that this was to make sure that schools were com­pli­ant with the Com­pe­ti­tion Act but also that school uni­forms were rea­son­able and af­ford­able.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into anti-com­pet­i­tive be­hav­iour at schools was con­cluded early last year. 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,” the com­mis­sion stated.

“Given the num­ber of schools and other con­sid­er­a­tions, it was felt that schools must fo­cus on the pri­mary func­tion, which is to ed­u­cate. The com­mis­sion was re­luc­tant to drag these schools through pro­tracted lit­i­ga­tion process and dis­tract them from their main func­tion.”

Sipho Ng­wema, spokesper­son for the com­mis­sion, said all stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing pri­vate schools, sup­pli­ers, gov­ern­ing bod­ies, and the gov­ern­ment were en­gaged.

“We agreed on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of school uni­form guide­lines is­sued by the gov­ern­ment. These in­clude the fol­low­ing: school uni­forms should be as generic as pos­si­ble so that it is ob­tain­able from as many sup­pli­ers pos­si­ble; ex­clu­siv­ity should be lim­ited to items that the schools re­gards as nec­es­sary to ob­tain from pre­s­e­lected sup­pli­ers e.g. badges, schools should fol­low a com­pet­i­tive bid­ding process when ap­point­ing sup­pli­ers; schools should ap­point more than one sup­plier in or­der to give par­ents more op­tions; and the con­cluded agree­ments should be of lim­ited du­ra­tion.

“Sub­se­quently, the com­mis­sion signed an MOU with FED­SAS, a fed­er­a­tion of school gov­ern­ing bod­ies, which is aimed at ed­u­cat­ing and en­cour­ag­ing schools to com­ply with the guide­lines. Fur­ther, the com­mis­sion en­gaged pri­vate schools like Curro, Ad­vtech and Red­dam House amongst oth­ers. The pri­vate schools re­sponse and co­op­er­a­tion was phenom­e­nal.

“Thus, we have jointly ap­proached the Com­pe­ti­tion Tri­bunal and the prod­uct of our in­ter­ac­tion will be heard on Fe­bru­ary 6 2019.

“All the par­ties will make a joint an­nounce­ment soon af­ter the pro­ceed­ings on the same day.”

A Kim­ber­ley par­ent, whose child started Grade 1 at a pri­vate school in the city yes­ter­day, said he was able “to pick up lots of bar­gains” be­cause he was not obliged to buy at any spe­cific out­let.

“We looked for specials last year al­ready and were able to get shirts, skirts and socks, at al­most half the nor­mal price. This year, we picked up a few other items, and also got them at bar­gain prices. Only the school shoes were full price.”

Ac­cord­ing to the par­ent, the shirts cost him around R120 each, the skirts around R80, while the shoes were around R99 a pair.

An­other par­ent, how­ever, whose child is also in a lo­cal pri­mary school, stated that “every­thing ex­cept the grey shorts and the black shoes” had to be pur­chased from the school’s cloth­ing shop.

“It costs around R1 500 to buy every­thing, in­clud­ing the pre­scribed sports uni­form, that is needed.

“A school blazer is around R450 each, while the jersey is around R250 to R300. A tie is about R50 and a boy’s sum­mer shirt is R200 each. The socks alone are R60 a pair – and you need a few pairs as they al­ways get lost or go miss­ing.”

She added that the sports clothes were about R200 for the top and R150 for the shorts.

“It has re­ally be­come un­af­ford­able for many par­ents and I be­lieve it would be a lot cheaper if we could shop around and were not forced to buy spe­cific cloth­ing items.”

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