Nkandla: It's a swimming pool, not a fire pool

2014-03-19 14:18
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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2014-03-19 12:38

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Carien du Plessis, City Press

Pretoria - Swimming classes for the community of Nkandla was one of the things considered by ministers when President Jacob Zuma’s fire pool was converted into a swimming pool.

Public Works deputy minister at the time, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, said Zuma supported her idea that the fire pool should be converted into a swimming pool “to be used by the children of the village”.

According to the public protector’s report into the spending on the upgrades at Zuma’s private home in Nkandla, Bogopane-Zulu told Thuli Madonsela this was “a developmental approach”.

Officials said the deputy minister even wanted to involve Swim South Africa in the swimming lessons for village children.

According to the evidence available to Madonsela, the architect in charge of the project, Minenhle Makhanya, who was also Zuma’s private architect, discussed the possibility of Zuma paying the costs of the R2.8m pool privately.

Makhanya also presented the design of the swimming pool to Zuma on various occasions, and discussed landscaping with Zuma between August 2010 and May 2011.

In an investigation by a governmental task team consisting of various ministers, it was found that the “fire pool” was necessary because many houses in the area had thatched roofs and the water would be needed to put out any possible fire.

The pool wasn’t included in the initial security recommendations, Madonsela found, and also noted that former president Nelson Mandela’s home didn’t have a pool.

Madonsela’s report refers to a “swimming pool” throughout, including on the detailed picture of the upgrades on the front cover of the report.

She only refers to a “fire pool” when quoting government documents.

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