For R3.9m, Zuma could have had an Olympic-size firepool

2015-05-29 14:03
Nkandla (File, AFP)

Nkandla (File, AFP)

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Durban - President Jacob Zuma’s swimming pool, which doubles up as a water reservoir for firefighters in the event of a blaze, cost taxpayers R3.9m.

However, a snap survey by News24 of some pool builders revealed that at most the pool should have cost R1.8m. One builder said Zuma could have had a 50m Olympic-size swimming pool for that money.

While the exact dimensions of the pool are not known, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report states that the pool holds a total of 157 000 litres or 157 kilolitres.

Nhleko announced on Thursday that Zuma did not have to pay anything towards the building of the so-called fire pool, which was constructed as part of the controversial R246m Nkandla upgrades.

Pool builders were generally reluctant to be named out of fear that they would lose business, but the most expensive price obtained was from a company in Gauteng.

The company, who wanted to remain anonymous, was asked to quote on a pool with a 25m length, 5m width and 1.5m depth, which could expected to hold 187.5 kilolitres, about 30 kilolitres more than Zuma’s Nkandla pool.

The company’s sales manager said that with all the bells and whistles - in other words with all the luxury extras - her company could build the pool for R1.8m.

‘I just quoted R1.3m for a pool that size’

“Crapalapa! That is quite excessive,” she said, when told of the R3.9m price tag. “I don’t know all the details, but I honestly don’t think we would do it for more than R1.8m. But that would be with all the extras.”

“I wish I could have that kind of money. I’ll give them a special for R2.9m, no problem,” joked a pool builder from Cape Town, who asked to remain anonymous.

“I have just quoted R1.3m for a pool about that size. The worst-case scenario on a 25m pool … R1.5m tops,” he said.

A pool builder in Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said that he could build a 25m pool for about R1.1m. “I wish I had got that job,” he said.

Mike Simpson of Quality Pools in Gauteng said: “For that price [R3.9m] I could have built him a state-of-the-art Olympic swimming pool. It would hold a million litres of water, have 2m of paving and I’ll include the starting blocks.”

Simpson said he could probably have built the pool in Nkandla for about R800 000, excluding VAT.
Asked what he thought might have made the Nkandla pool so expensive, he said, laughing: “Ag come on. We all know what happened there. It’s no secret.”

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  nkosinathi nhleko  |  nkandla upgrade

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