Officials explain away extras added to Nkandla

2013-12-20 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Ministers and officials in the government’s security cluster yesterday explained away all the extras added to the Nkandla estate.

Former SANDF surgeon-general General Vejay Ramlakan said the helipad and clinic, for which the SA Military Health Service is responsible, were not just “nice to have” but were fully justified.

Police commissioner General Riah Phiyega also said according the the SAPS analysis of the security at President Jacob Zuma’s private estate, nothing was “nice to have”.

Phiyega and Ramlakan explained the improvements thus:

• Paving — this refers to an access road. “Everyone who has visited Nkandla knows you must not wear stiletto heels when you go there. The terrain is very inhospitable. It is worse in bad weather. Ordinary security vehicles cannot patrol the perimeter on a dirt road,” said Ramlakan.

• Swimming pool — firefighting pond. “There is no running water at Nkandla. Most of the buildings are thatched and built close together. Anyone who grew up in a rural area knows there are no fire extinguishers or fire brigades,” said Phiyega.

• Tuckshop — because of the security risk of outsiders coming into the estate, it was moved closer to the perimeter.

• Relocation of neighbours — some people outside the boundary had to be moved because the risk of them living too close to the security zone.

• Amphitheatre — a four-metre retaining wall intended to guard against erosion was erected as a curved terrace.

• Chicken coop — this replaced several structures dotted around the estate. These were in the way and could provide hiding places for intruders.

• Cattle kraal and underpass — security assessments recommended sensitive electronic equipment be installed on the fences. In order to avoid cattle coming in contact with and damaging the sensitive equipment, it was decided to move the kraal.

• Astroturf — “As I understand it, a non-governmental organisation built the field on the border of the estate as a 2010 Soccer World Cup legacy project,” said Ramlakan.

• Air conditioning — “Bulletproof windows cannot be easily opened and therefore proper air conditioning had to be installed,” said Ramlakan.

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