A Zimbabwe mayor has insisted his city council will use the twenty pink dustbins donated by a pro-gay rights group, as soon as he can find prominent spaces for them.

Thaba Moyo oversees Bulowayo, the second largest city in the African state ruled by infamously homophobic President Robert Mugabe.

He confirmed to SW Radio Africa that the Sexual Rights Centre had given the bins as a gift to the city last month.

But he denied complaints had led to them being pulled from circulation, saying he was trying to find prominent places for the colourful receptacles.

Earlier, the Bulawayo United Residents Association’s Secretary General Samuel Moyo had said: “The issues of gays and lesbians is a very controversial national problem and council was, therefore, supposed to consult the people as accepting the donation could be misconstrued to mean the local authority subscribes to gay rights.”

Subsequent reports said the metal bins had been withdrawn following opposition, but Moyo denied that was the case.

He told SW Radio Africa: “We really welcome this donation and we are busy trying to arrange to put them in strategic places that receive a lot of traffic.”

He added: “We don’t regret receiving this donation and we won’t listen to anyone who disagrees with having them on the street.”

The station reports that the bins had been donated to coincide with Mugabe’s Zanu PF party conference in December.

The city is suffering what the outlet called a “serious waste removal crisis”, and “health hazard”.

Moyo said the city was “desperate” for any assistance in clearing rubbish from the streets.

The Sexual Rights Centre in Zimbabwe, who donated the bins, is “focused entirely on upholding international recommendations and standards on sexual rights”, one of which is the right to “freely express one’s sexuality”.