SOME looters who took part in last week’s opposition instigated violent protests in Bulawayo stashed groceries worth more than $3 000 in a funeral parlour in Luveve suburb and were busted by the police after they threw a three-day marathon party in the morgue, alarming residents.
It is alleged that alert residents of the nearby houses noticed the strange events and tipped off the police.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that following a tip-off from members of the public, our officers raided Zulu Khayalami funeral parlour in Luveve suburb where suspected looted goods worth more than $3 000 were recovered. We are still conducting further investigations,” said Insp Ncube.
Police arrested Thandekile Mzizi (28), Sisasenkosi Zulu (35) and Methuseli Moyo (30) in connection with the case. Part of the confiscated loot included assorted liquor, foodstuffs and other groceries.
Residents who spoke to The Chronicle yesterday said following the looting spree on Monday and Tuesday last week, there was a lot of partying in the mortuary.
“It was very strange, they were playing music and bingeing on beer in a mortuary. We do not know what happened but the next thing they were arrested. People have surely lost respect for the dead,” said a resident who declined to be named.
Another resident said a lot of commuter omnibus crews were being offered free beer at the mortuary, and word soon spread that the liquor could have come from looting.
In a telephone interview, Mr Mbusiso Zulu, the owner of the mortuary, said he was not aware of the matter. He however, confirmed that his sister (Sisasenkosi) was part of the arrested trio.
“I know nothing about what you are talking about as nobody has told me anything about what transpired at my mortuary. However, my sister was arrested and police denied me access to her. I even went to Khami Prison and on two attempts I was denied my right to see my sister. I want to hear her out and find out what it is that she was lacking that made her find herself in that situation,” said Mr Zulu.
During the interview, Mr Zulu threatened The Chronicle reporters with unspecified action if they continued to pursue the story. “If you want things to go well for you, just drop that story as you just want to tarnish my parlour’s business. If you want us to get on well, leave my business alone or you will see,” said Mr Zulu before hanging up.
Meanwhile, police have said that they will not have mercy on any violent protesters and looters following reports that people who voluntarily surrendered their loot at police stations would be spared from prosecution.
Insp Ncube said while all looters would be arrested, those that handed themselves over to police stations were likely to get better treatment as admission of guilt could be used during mitigation in court.
“There will not be any mercy for looters so even if they surrender what they stole from shops, the law will still take its course. However, those people who hand themselves in could stand a better chance during mitigation in court as the act shows remorse and in our reports it would have been recorded in the circumstances of the arrest,” said Insp Ncube.
In another incident in Entumbane suburb, police busted a couple that had concealed looted goods by burying them in their backyard and planting a vegetable garden over them. They were arrested and the looted groceries were confiscated.