Small business owners in Entumbane have been left counting their losses after they lost thousands of dollars’ worth of property during the last week violent protests.
The protests codenamed #Shutdown where characterised by looting of shops and destruction of infrastructure mostly in the western suburbs of the city.
Entumbane Shopping Complex, one of the epicentres of the protests with most business operating from the complex suffering major losses as most of the goods were looted.
One business owner at the shopping complex, Simon Tapera who was running a furniture and electronics shop at the complex says he lost goods worth $4 000 to the looters.
“I had stock worth $4 000. The looters stole 500 cell phones, eleven plasma television sets, sixteen sets of speakers and fifty stoves. Large goods like television stands were all left broken,” said a despondent Tapera.
Another business owner, John Magumura also lost all his goods to the looters.
“I lost six plasma television sets, three home theatres and six DVDs, which is approximately $2 500,” he said.
“I am very hurt because I could not rescue my goods. I was there when protesters looted but l could not do anything as they over powered me”.
He said those who looted were popular faces from Entumbane suburb.
“Local people were the ones who took our stuff. We reported them to the police but most of them ran away from their homes, some to the rural areas,” he alleged.
In some areas, looters are alleged to have dumped some of the looted goods in the bushes as the police dragnet closes in on suspected looters.
Magumura said it will be difficult to recover from the loss.
“We now have to buy glasses for our shops and buy new stock. I hope the owners will assist us in renovating our shops,” he said.
Police have confirmed that they have so far arrested 491 looters in the city while more arrests are still being carried out.
Some of the suspects have since appeared in court.