Minister gives demonstration on how to use a firepool

Cape Town - 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.

Nhleko moved on to the construction of the visitor centre and ampitheatre.

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