The government is in the process of establishing an emergency relief fund to assist the business community that was hard hit by hooligans who looted their shops and burnt some of the facilities.

In an interview after a tour of looted and burnt shops in Bulawayo, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube said he is appalled by the gravity of destruction that befell the business community.

He said resources are being mobilised to support the affected businesses through a special fund that will be managed by a team yet to be announced.

Minister Ncube challenged all the business people who were affected to quantify their losses and present the figures to government for assistance.

“This loss is devastating and families have been affected and so are jobs, so we are putting in place a special fund to assist the victims so we want them to compile their losses so that when we call for submissions they must be ready with details,” he said.

Home Affairs Minister Cde Cain Mathema also appealed to the general public to work with the police in identifying the perpetrators of looting so that they are brought to book adding that investigations are ongoing and will continue until justice is served.

“Investigations are continuing and we want the people to be a part of the security of this country so we need information of all those that were involved so that all of them are brought to book. So the public must assist because they know these people,” he said.

Preliminary investigations show that  181 shops were affected in the western suburbs of Bulawayo and to date the assessment indicates over $30 million worth of losses were incurred including production losses although the process of collecting this information is continuing.

The tourism sector was also affected as some operators had some bookings cancelled leading to revenue losses of over US$125 000.

The hunting safari business was also badly affected due to the suspension of flights and disruption of the aviation services.