Nkandla had six arson attacks - crime stats
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma’s firepool could prove more useful than widely thought; six arson attacks have taken place in the Nkandla area, according to crime statistics released on Tuesday.
The statistics showed that the Nkandla police station, close to the president’s traditional homestead in rural KwaZulu-Natal, dealt with six cases of arson in the period from April 2014 to March 2015.
The previous year saw exactly the same number of arson incidents break out in the area.
It seems Zuma’s security-upgraded chicken run is doing its job. The Nkandla police station, on 199 Hadebe Street, boasts a record of having no reported stock theft in the area since March 2013.
Perhaps the blue-light brigade can take some credit for the fact that there were no car or motorcycle thefts in the area either during the reporting period.
Zuma’s first wife Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo might also need to keep a beady eye on customers at her local tuck shop – since, according to police records, one shoplifter lurks in the area.
Not immune to serious crime
Overall, most cases dealt with by the rural police station were related to drugs.
But the area is not immune to the more serious contact crimes that mar the rest of the country; 15 people were murdered in the area and 44 cases of sexual offence were opened. More than a hundred cases of assault were recorded.
Zuma’s traditional homestead became a site of great contention after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Zuma unduly benefited from the R246m spent on so-called security upgrades to his property.
However, a report by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, released earlier this year, exonerated him, suggesting the upgrades were justified. He explained that what appeared to be a swimming pool was, in fact, a source of water for fighting fires.
The building of the Nkandla police station in 2012 itself stirred controversy, with Colonel Jay Naicker at the time disputing reports that it was erected specifically to protect the police.
"The Inkosi... requested the SAPS [South Africa Police Service] to build a police station in the Ubumbano area as a result of ongoing faction fighting and crime in the area, he said at the time.