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The seemingly mundane business of school uniforms is fast gaining a bad-boy image. And parents are not impressed. For Tshegofatso Adoons, a mother of a grade three pupil, "back to school" usually translates into "fork out all your money". Her eight-year-old daughter attends a semi-private school on the East Rand and she can buy school gear from only one specific retailer in that area — "for an arm and a leg". "As a mum, you often shop around for deals but with school uniforms we are captured by the school branding on the uniform, which we can only buy from one place." A competition commission probe into uniform cartels began in 2015 after a number of parents complained about the narrow and expensive options of stockists available, and it is ongoing. Parents’ complaints aren’t unfounded. Two pairs of grey trousers and two white shirts cost R89 and R59 respectively at Ackermans. Adoons says she paid R150 and R120 for one pair of each from one of the other suppliers approved by the sch...

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