Calling swimming pool a firepool is insulting: Maimane

2015-07-29 12:14
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Cape Town - The aesthetics of the so-called firepool at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home suggest that it was originally intended to be a swimming pool, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Wednesday.

"It is fascinating that it is nicely tiled, it is paved, it has an entertainment area... . I submit to you that it is undue benefit," he told Police Minister Nathi Nhleko during a sitting of the ad hoc committee on Nkandla in Parliament.

Maimane said he refused to refer to the facility as a firepool because that was "insulting".

"Let's call it a swimming pool."

Nhleko continued to defend the need for the firepool.

He said the only discrepancy regarding the firepool was the capacity.

‘Pool a security feature’

In reports, it was suggested the pool needed an extra capacity of 138kl, however the architect proceeded with constructing a pool with a capacity of 175kl.

"Is it a security feature? Yes, it is a security feature in terms of how it was considered," Nhleko said.
He was answering questions posed to him by members of the committee.

On the issue of cost inflation, Maimane said it could not be accept that there was "ignorance on the side of the president".

"The issue of cost inflation is something we can all agree on. I want to propose that in fact it was an exercise in cross-subsidisation."

In reference to a police memo that suggested Zuma authorised the renovations in Nkandla, Nhleko was adamant that the president would not give such an instruction to someone who was "seven levels" below his ranking.

The instruction was signed by Senior Superintendent LF Linde.

This had to do with 21 SA National Defence Force and SA Police Service houses built outside the premises of the Nkandla homestead.

‘Name-dropping in the civil service’

IFP MP Narend Singh asked to what extent Linde had delegated powers, and what action was being taken against him to repay the money.

Nhleko said he was not able to give an overall delegation framework.

"But I think it's a matter that will become clearer, as there are further follow-ups."

The minister said there was a tendency of "name-dropping" in the civil service.

"... It was a common exercise and this is confirmed by the SIU."

Nhleko said it was "intriguing" that Maimane would say that when there is name-dropping, it was immaterial whether that person had indeed agreed to the instruction.

Read more on:    mmusi maimane  |  jacob zuma  |  nathi nhleko  |  nkandla upgrade  |  parliament 2015
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