Nkandla's Firepool because of bad municipal services - Nhleko

Amanda Khoza, Thomas Hartleb, News24

Pietermaritzburg – An erratic municipal water supply and the prevalence of fires are why President Jacob Zuma needs a “firepool” at his Nkandla home, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said on Tuesday.

“Nkandla is prone to fires. At some point an old age home burnt down and a boarding school burnt down,” he told Parliament’s ad hoc committee on Nkandla in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg.

The committee, which is studying Nhleko’s report on the R246m spent on so-called security upgrades at Nkandla, is scheduled to visit the homestead on Wednesday.

Nhleko found that Zuma was not liable for any of the spending, contradicting a report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that recommended he had to pay for those features not related to security, like the pool and cattle kraal. Nhleko said all the features were security-related.

Municipal water supply ‘erratic’

Nhleko was explaining parts of his report to the committee’s members, accompanying his talk with aerial photos of the dwellings.

The uThungulu district municipality’s water supply to Nkandla was erratic, he said.

He said the “firepool” was not discussed with Zuma. It was intended to be used primarily for fighting fires and secondly for recreation.

“But what comes out from this demonstration is the amount of water needed and this speaks to the... distance and the open water source and atmospheric pressure."

He showed his audience the video played at the release of his own report, on May 28, which at the time elicited laughter from journalists.

It shows firefighters demonstrating how they pump water from the pool and spray it from their hoses. This time his audience watched straight-faced.

Nothing out of the ordinary

He then turned his attention to the visitors’ lounge and amphitheatre.

The lounge was built on top of the police station, located on the perimeter of the homestead. The SA National Defence Force’s housing complex was outside the perimeter.

He said all state homes had a visitors’ centre, so it was nothing out of the ordinary.

According to the engineers the amphitheatre was intended to function as a retaining wall, at the base of which was an emergency assembly area.

“For purposes of functionality, they themselves refer to it as an amphitheatre,” he said.

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