Bulawayo panties ban sparks panic

BULAWAYO City Council, Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimra yesterday held a crisis meeting over the ban of the selling of second-hand undergarments at flea markets. Details of the closed-door meeting held at Town Block were sketchy last night, but it lasted for close to three hours.

REPORT BY CHIEF REPORTER

Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo confirmed the meeting, but said he could not comment as he was in Harare.

The ban, effective Sunday, is likely to be met with strong resistance from flea market traders and other vendors in a city where close to 90% of industries are closed.

A recent report by the Zimbabwe Statistical Office released last week revealed that the bulk of Zimbabweans were now surviving through vending due to rampant unemployment estimated at 80%.

Council issued a decree outlawing the sale of second-hand undergarments citing personal hygiene reasons.

“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,” read part of the council notice posted at Revenue Hall.

“All persons dealing in second-hand undergarments are required to comply with this notice.”

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.

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