The government has banned importation of undergarments with effect from December 30.
According to Statutory Instrument SI 150 of 2011, even donated undergarments would be outlawed.
It bans the importation of “articles of second-hand undergarments of any type, form or description, whether purchased, donated or procured in any other manner.
The effect of this notice is to prohibit anyone from importing any item of second-hand underclothing”, reads part of the instrument.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority now charges 40% duty and 15% value added tax as well as $3 penalty for every kg of underwear. In his 2012 National Budget statement, Finance minister Tendai Biti told Parliament the continued importation of second-hand undergarments was unacceptable.
At a pre-Budget meeting in Kwekwe, the minister accused men who bought their wives undergarments from flea markets of being failures.
He said he was shocked to learn the most important and basic women’s clothing was now being imported and sold at flea markets.
“I am told we are now even importing women’s underwear in this country. How does that happen? If you are a husband and you see your wife buying underwear from the flea market, you would have failed,” he said.
“If I was your in-law I would take my daughter and urge you to first put your house in order if you still want her back.”
Zimbabwe is not the only country in Africa that has banned the sale of second-hand underwear as Ghana in 2010 also outlawed it.
Most Zimbabweans buy their clothes from informal traders who sale merchandise imported from countries such as China.