By Bongani Ndlovu
A Bulawayo man was shot dead at his home by four suspected armed robbers in an attack that left his neighbour with gunshot wounds.
The man’s family talked about the devastation of losing a loved one following his burial at Luveve Cemetery yesterday.
Smart Kutsanzira (46), died at Mpilo Central Hospital from gunshot wounds and beatings inflicted by the armed robbers who broke into his house in Cowdray Park’s Esigodweni area in the early hours of Sunday. The shooting has left residents in the suburb living in fear
The businessman, Kutsanzira, was a husband and father to five.
Kutsanzira’s neighbour was also shot on the same night during the brazen attack.
A sombre atmosphere engulfed the cemetery yesterday morning as friends, neighbours, relatives and fellow members of the Johanne Masowe Gospel of God church from Entumbane, gathered to pay their last respects.
Everyone at the gravesite took off their shoes, walking around barefoot, perhaps as a sign of respect or as a church ritual of some sort.
A prayer was held and led by Madzibaba Mukwisho from the church who asked mourners to kneel and join him in prayer.
A close family member who spoke on condition of anonymity said the robbers raided the home at around 1AM on Sunday.
They forced open the gate, the French door, a steel door and entered the house.
“When Smart heard people breaking into the house he went to investigate. He was then shot. I’m not sure where, but he was shot. He then ran out of the front door and jumped next door and they followed him. They caught up with him, dragged him back to the house and then started to beat him up and they shot him a second time,” said the relative.
Kutsanzira, the relative said, ended up giving in to the armed robbers’ demands.
“They beat him up demanding money and he was saying he doesn’t have any. They ended up taking his cellphone and about US$70. They took the money and left. That was when his six-year-old child came out and called his brother, who asked a neighbour, who rushed Smart to Mpilo Hospital,” said the relative.
Doctors at Mpilo Central Hospital, the relative said, tried to save Kutsanzira’s life but it was too late.
Mourners at the burial of Smart Kutsanzira
“At Mpilo Hospital, at around 4AM, that is where it was discovered that Smart had been shot twice, once in the knee and in the chest and he had cuts on the head from the beating. Doctors had to operate on him so that they remove the bullet in his chest, he was taken out and then was put in ICU. After that his health deteriorated and the family was phoned at around 2AM on Monday morning saying he had died,” said the relative.
The relative said a fellow neighbour, aged 60, who lives directly opposite Kutsanzira’s house, was also attacked on the same night by the same robbers.
“The neighbour met Smart’s relatives at Mpilo Hospital, he was at the casualty ward, near where Smart was given a bed. He then narrated his ordeal at the hands of the robbers. The neighbour says the robbers attacked his house at around midnight and he was also shot. They fired at him and they were looking for money,” said the neighbour.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said they are treating the incident as murder and armed robbery.
“We are investigating a case where armed robbers struck two houses near each other in Cowdray Park’s Esigodweni area. Two people were shot in the knee by the armed robbers who went away with money with a total amount of R7 500. Unfortunately, one of the victims died, Smart Kutsanzira, and we are now treating this case as armed robbery and murder,” said Insp Ncube.
Last month, police shot and killed three armed robbers trying to rob a mining equipment dealer in Bulawayo’s Fourwinds suburb. Three others were taken into custody and have appeared in court. The six-armed robbers were part of a gang that raided Choppies Supermarket in Parklands and Access Finance in the city, getting away with nearly US$300 000 and R1 million recently.
Police said the six are linked to other armed robberies in the city, and had also just come from South Africa with the intention of committing more robberies.
A few days later another armed robber was shot dead during a shootout with the police in the city centre. Constable Gibson Tafara Madzimure (35) was shot in the head at the home of an alleged illegal foreign currency dealer, Last Mukomawashe. Const Madzimure was rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Between March and June this year, Bulawayo police reported 32 armed robberies in the city, including the fatal shooting of a till operator at a liquor store in Ascot. The Chronicle