Desperation drives second-hand clothing traders

Nodumo Makaza

Sellers of second-hand clothing have resorted to trading in the early hours of the day to avoid confrontation with law enforcement officials during the national lockdown.

  The dealers say they are left with no choice but to take chances and trade as early as 6:00am to 9:00am before law enforcement officials start patrolling.

  This was revealed by one of the traders, Nkululeko Dube, who said:  “I don’t have a choice but to sell so I can feed my family. I am self-employed and this is my only source of income. At first we didn’t have a lot of customers but now the word has spread and people are coming to get winter clothes.”

  As winter looms the need for winter clothing is a growing concern. Traders say this is their only chance of selling winter clothing.

  “If we don’t sell these jackets and jerseys now, we run at a loss because people won’t need them during summer. Now the demand is high and we are only trying to dispose of all the clothing we stocked before lockdown,” he said.

  Level 4 lockdown regulations permit the sale of winter clothing, linen and bedding; however it prohibits the sale of second-hand clothing by dealers in outdoor markets.

  Promise Dlamini a mother of three says she cannot afford winter clothing for the entire family at the shops that have been permitted to open, as she has been relying on the outdoor market in De Villiers Street in the CBD for her clothing supplies.

“I was disappointed when the dealers were not there to sell the much needed winter clothing. I woke up very early today when I heard they are back in the early hours of the morning,” she said. 

  She adds that there is no other place in the city where she can get affordable quality winter clothing.

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