Bales of second-hand clothes are still finding their way into Zimbabwe from Mozambique as their trading is permissible under Mozambican law.
Dealers are reportedly flocking to Mozambique’s Gabo area of Chimoio daily to buy large numbers of bales before engaging couriers to transport them to various parts of Zimbabwe.
Trucks and kombis laded with the contraband cross into Zimbabwe daily under the cover of darkness.
The issue emerged during a ZimTrade Outward Trade Mission to Manica in Mozambique where Mozambican and Zimbabwean business people interacted.
Director of Customs in Manica Province, Olices Tembe said the issue of smuggling has been raised on various platforms but Mozambique’s hands are tied.
Tembe was responding to queries raised by the Mozambican business community who said the country is now being viewed as a haven of illegal activities. Said Tembe:
We cannot stop the trucks from leaving this country because there are no laws stopping Mozambican people from trading bales.
Once they cross into Zimbabwe, we cannot speak on behalf of our Zimbabwean counterparts as it is a sovereign State.
A dealer involved in the buying and the transportation of the bales to various locations in Zimbabwe, Paulo Erinesto, told The Manica Post said he is able to deliver bales to customers’ doorsteps. He said:
This is our line of business and you will never go wrong if you engage our services.
We have customers who phone us from Zimbabwe and place their orders and send in money to buy their stuff.
We ensure that we engage reliable transporters who know how to evade law enforcement agents and deliver the bales to our customers’ doorsteps.
The prices of the bales vary depending on the quality of the stuff.
The best bales go for as much as US$300 and you are assured of a return on your investment.
Another dealer, Victor Maposa from Mutare, said they have devised strategies for evading law-enforcement agents. Said Maposa:
We know which routes to take to evade arrests. We are constantly in touch with our customers giving them updates on our movements.
We operate as syndicates and for big consignments, escort vehicles are deployed to accompany the delivery trucks to their destinations.
So many routes have been opened along the border and whenever we discover that our routes are now known by law enforcement agents, we open new ones. I am at your disposal if you need these services.
Smuggling of second-hand clothing (mabhero) has negatively-affected Zimbabwe’s textile industry.