Swimming pool will never be a fire pool: Vavi

By Drum Digital
19 March 2014

Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi insisted a swimming pool could never be a fire pool.

Without having seen the Public Protector's report on Nkandla, suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi insisted a swimming pool could never be a fire pool.

"I can never ever agree to suddenly call a swimming pool a fire pool. Nor will I agree that we must call an amphitheatre a wall with steps."

Vavi was referring to the building of a swimming pool at President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla residence as part of a security upgrade.

Officials, reacting to criticism, have said the pool was actually a fire pool.

Vavi was speaking to reporters on the steps of the Durban City Hall following a march by the National Union of Metal Workers of SA to protest for jobs for the youth.

Vavi said he did not want to comment on a report released on Wednesday by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on her probe into Nkandla because he had yet to see it.

But he said irrespective of what was contained in Madonsela's report, such expenditure on a private residence could never be acceptable.

"It is not justifiable for over R200 million to be spent on the upgrade of a private residence of anybody, be that a president or a powerful king or anybody; not in a country with an 35 percent unemployment rate and its massive inequalities and 25 million people living on less than one US dollar a day."

Vavi insisted that he was not joining any other party and that he would remain a member of the African National Congress until he was kicked out for his beliefs.

He said he was concerned about the ANC's list of candidates for Parliament that had been submitted to the Electoral Commission of SA.

"In that list there are people who are seriously compromised who have been condemned, not only by the public protector, but who have been condemned by Parliament," Vavi said.

"And then there we are sending the very same people back to Parliament. What signal is that going to show that South Africa is serious about corruption?"

He said this list failed to send a consistent message that indicated that the country was against graft.

Earlier, traffic in Durban's city centre was brought to a standstill as thousands of National Union of Metal Workers of SA members marched for jobs.

Vavi was at the front of the estimated 3000-strong march.

The march proceeded down Anton Lembede (Smith) Street, where Vavi was expected to address the marchers.

Vavi carried a placard that read "Implement the Freedom Charter".

There were no reports of any trouble as a large police contingent escorted the marchers.

Vavi told the marchers the country was facing a "ticking time bomb" that had already started to explode.

He said the failure to provide service delivery and jobs was showing itself in the townships across the country, which he said face on average 34 service delivery protests every day.

"We see that bomb exploding in our townships. The bomb we warned against is exploding as we speak," he said.

-by Sapa

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