BY STAFF REPORTER
United Refineries CEO Busisa Moyo has lamented the extent of damages suffered by Bulawayo businesses during the January 14 protests, citing the destruction of retail shops especially in high-density areas.
A number of shops were looted after the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions-organised stayaway turned violent.
“This shopping complex with about six shops in Entumbane was looted and then set alight,” Moyo tweeted after touring some of the affected businesses on Friday. “The damage is extensive. Tills and shelfing were taken by looters.
“All the people that worked here are now at home and without work. De-industrialising and now de-retailing of a city is a painful experience.”
He said during the tour he was told by a business owner that the looters appeared well organised.
“A business owner related to me how an advance team of looters had bolt cutters, crow bars and angle grinders and cut his store open.
“They also had explosives and equipment to bust any safe or strongroom open. He managed to get his money from only one of four shops.
“The pharmacy in Cowdray Park was completely looted of medicines and drugs and the owner was brutally attacked by the rioters. He was slashed with a knife and hit with bricks.
“Some shop owners have started to rebuild from own funds but at a low pace.”
Former Education minister David Coltart called for a commission of inquiry to establish who was behind the looting.
“This is shocking and all right-minded people must condemn this,” he tweeted in response to Moyo’s tweets.
“However, we must know the whole truth.
“Much of this was well organised and we need an independent inquiry to see whether there was a third force, which exploited the anger of the people to achieve a political aim.”
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, who toured the affected businesses on Friday, said the government would avail at least $19 million required by the looted businesses for them to re-open.