Police Minister Nathi Nhleko treated the media and live television viewers to a surprise demonstration on how to use a firepool, as he released his report on the controversial R246m security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla.
This was to show that the Zuma family’s R3.9m swimming pool, also doubles as a water source to put out a fire.
A policeman showed the pipes and pumps that would be used to extinguish a blaze at the mostly thatch homestead, taking the viewer through the remarkable dual purpose of the swimming pool, with the occasional addition of classical music as a soundtrack, and a mysterious bright blue colour wash effect.
The conclusion of the test, conducted this February, was ”we have no pressure”.
Earlier, Nhleko said that according to the SA Police Service’s evaluation report, fire fighting equipment had to be made available at the premises when the need arose because of the architecture of the site.
“Fire equipment is essential given the architecture of the homestead and fire fighting capability must be on the site,” he said.
The Mhlathuze local municipality had tested water pressure from water mains and found that an open water source was the best fire for fighting fighting “and nothing could be better than the pool or the dam”.
“The firepool is first to be used for fire fighting, second, recreation in the homestead.”
People could start extinguishing a fire while the fire truck was on its way and the water in the pool could replenish firetrucks.
A suction pump was permanently attached to the pool for any fire emergency and supply would be via a UVC pipe. Said Nhleko of the local fire brigade: “…They were not well equipped to deal with the fire threat.”
“Previous arson incidents warrant the establishment of a comprehensive firefighting ability,” said Nhleko, adding that fire drills would also be held.
On the issue of moving the cattle kraal, a new video, also blue, explained the cultural significance of cattle.
Nhleko took over and explained that Zuma’s cattle could not be in the high security zone as they would bump into the fences and set off alarms.
“The family kraal is located in the high security zone and the animals would interfere with the motion detectors. It was recommended that the animals be moved to a new enclosure,” he said.
The Zuma family had actually compromised by agreeing to move the animals to the new enclosure.
Nkandla report conclusion extract
Having considered the strategic importance of the homestead, national security interests, relevant legislation, and scientific and graphical demonstrations, arriving at the following carefully considered decision it is inescapable that:
- The fire pool and/or swimming pool is a strategic asset useful in fire fighting and therefore, is a security feature.
- The animal enclosure which is made of chicken run, kraal and culvert keeps livestock away from the security infra-structure and therefore these features complements PIDS security fence, MDP Technology and are security imperatives for fence technology to work. And as such is a security feature.
- The soil retention wall and/or “amphitheatre” have a clear security purpose as an Emergency Assembly Point for the family and homestead dwellers. Soil retaining wall is critical in holding soil and substrate thereby reinforcing the soil bank carrying the inner road surface. This area is therefore a necessary security feature.
- The visitors’ centre has to cater for the Presidents distinguished guests’ meetings and local constituency meetings. During such meetings privacy and confidentiality is necessary. There are protocol, physical and information security imperatives that should be observed in such meetings. Therefore the visitors’ centre is in this regard a security feature.
Accordingly, the State President is therefore not liable to pay for any of these security features.
Additional reporting by News24.