Smugglers bringing second-hand clothes threaten programmes to contain Covid-19, police have said.
Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Charity Mazula said people must understand the impact of Covid-19, and stop smuggling second-hand clothes since they may potentially spread the virus.
“People need to understand that this disease is real and we will all die if we allow people through the border line,” said Insp Mazula.
While the neighbouring countries do not have too many cases of coronavirus, the clothes which come mainly from Europe and the United States, may potentially carry the virus, which is why Government is determined to block the threat.
Briefing the media in Masvingo on Thursday last week, the Covid-19 provincial taskforce’s information and publicity chairman Mr Rogers Irimai said most of the traders use illegal crossing points to avoid paying taxes.
“Government is clamping down on second-hand clothes imports as cross-border Covid-19 infections and smuggling surge,” he said. “Cross-border traders, who are smuggling bales of second-hand clothes from neighbouring countries, are defying lockdown regulations and illegally cross into countries such as South Africa and Mozambique, risking the spread of Covid-19.”
Smuggling of bales of second hand clothes has been rife for years, especially along the border with Mozambique.
Mr Irimai said Government should increase the fight against smuggling of second hand-clothes.
Zimbabwe first banned the importation of second-clothes in 2015, to protect the country’s textile industry, but relaxed the restrictions two years later as it was a major source of income for informal traders.
The country shut its borders on March 30, to all traffic except approved cargoes as a measure to help stop the spread of Covid-19.