Oliver Kazunga Senior Reporter—
Prominent Bulawayo economic commentator Dr Eric Bloch has died. He was 75. A chartered accountant by profession, Dr Bloch died on Saturday evening at his house in Kumalo. Family spokesperson and son to Dr Bloch, Mark, said his father had been ill for some time. “Since my mother passed away a couple of years ago, his health has slowly been going down. In December last year he was very ill and he collapsed.
“From that time he never fully recovered and had pneumonia and chest pains; he became thin and frail and lost almost 30 kilogrammes of his weight,” said Mark in an interview yesterday. Dr Bloch’s wife, Baileh, succumbed to heart attack in July 2011.
“About two-and-a-half weeks ago, he was involved in a car accident. He was now finding it hard to stand or walk and the pain was really getting bad.
“In the last few days, he started getting chest infections again and his kidney was weakening. He was in coma most of the time. Yesterday morning, he was a little bit better . . . and at lunch time, he went into coma again and yesterday evening he passed away just before 7.30PM.”
Dr Bloch was born on April 2, 1939 in Johannesburg, South Africa and migrated to Bulawayo with his parents when he was a child.
Mark said his father was an accountant who later became an economic consultant.
“I’ve been speaking to people who have been coming to the house and I think he made a big change to people’s lives. He was trying to advise people not only with businesses but also with education and training and trying to encourage youngsters to try and move the economy forward.
“I think he has been an incredibly generous man . . . he has left a very good legacy that if everyone works together, they might well be able to make a difference. There were times he was very frustrated that certain things in trying to improve Zimbabwe were beyond his control but, I do hope that people will remember what he tried to do to improve Zimbabwe. All he wanted was for Zimbabwe to be strong again.”
Mark who is a medical doctor based in Scotland said some people asked him why he was not taking his father to Scotland for treatment.
“Quite a few people asked me when my dad was so ill if I should take him to the hospital where I work in Scotland. And honestly, I think the care he was getting here was even better than we could have given him over there because there is so much empathy and kindness here.
“People worked so hard to make sure dad stays comfortable, which is more than he would have got anywhere in the UK.
“I think all the teams and nursing teams from the hospice in particular have been so magnificent, so good and so kind. I can’t begin to tell them how appreciative we are as a family.”
Association for Business in Zimbabwe (ABUZ) chief executive officer Dr Lucky Mlilo told Chronicle yesterday that Dr Bloch was the association’s subcommittee chairman for Finance and Economic Development. “We’ve learnt of Dr Bloch’s death with a heavy heart. He has been unwell for some time.
Dr Mlilo spoke highly of the late Dr Bloch describing him as someone who was “very” professional in his conduct.
“When it came to professionalism, Dr Bloch was someone who was very professional. For example, he was someone who would always return phone calls, if he missed your call. At personal level, he was my role model, some of my qualities; I actually borrowed them from him. Dr Bloch was a person who had no colour and had people at heart. He was someone I would ask for advice anytime and I would go to his home at anytime.”
In a separate interview, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce former president Obert Sibanda said it was sad that Dr Bloch had passed on.
“It’s very sad that we received the news of the passing on of Dr Bloch. I have worked with him for quite some time and at the time when I was the ZNCC president; he was one of my advisors. He was very candid, hard working and was someone I would rely on when it comes to advice,” he said, adding that Dr Bloch was patriotic and loved his country.
Dr Bloch is survived by four children, Raphi, Mark, Barry, Ruth and 10 grandchildren. All are based outside the country. A funeral service will be held at the Jewish Cemetery, Donovan Street in North End, Bulawayo on Wednesday at 10am.