BULAWAYO City Council has banned the sale of second-hand undergarments at its weekend flea market, popularly known as khothama (bend), citing personal hygiene reasons.
REPORT BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
The ban is with effect from this Saturday.
In a notice pasted at the Revenue Hall entrance dated June 6, the Health Department said all traders should comply with the directive “Please be advised that due to health considerations, with effect from June 15, 2013 the sale of second-hand undergarments, bras, panties, petticoats etc, is no longer permitted within the city of Bulawayo,” the notice reads.
“All persons dealing in second-hand undergarments are required to comply with this notice.”
The garments cost as little $1 for a pair.
Khothama is one of the fledging flea markets in the city, popular for selling cheap clothes, particularly from bales imported from Mozambique.
In 2011, Zimbabwe banned the sale of second-hand underwear, sparking protests from traders who said the move would push them out of business.
According to a notice published in a Government Gazette, the importation of “second-hand undergarments of any type, form or description – whether purchased, donated or procured in any other manner,” is outlawed.
Last year, Finance minister Tendai Biti said he was shocked to discover that many Zimbabweans were accustomed to buying pre-owned underwear from flea markets.
Biti was quoted saying: “If you are a husband and you see your wife buying underwear from the flea market, you would have failed.”
Traders buy bales of second-hand clothing from Dubai and China for resale.
Several African countries which have thriving second-hand clothing markets have issued similar bans on used underwear.
A downturn in the economy forced many Zimbabweans into purchasing second-hand underwear from informal traders.