Police Minister Nathi Nhleko accompanied by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi giving an update on the Nkandla Project during the media briefing at Imbizo Media Centre in Cape Town, 28/05/2015. Ntswe Mokoena

Parliament - A swimming pool at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu Natal was needed to ensure the security of the President as it served a critical fire-fighting purpose, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said on Thursday.

Reading out his report into whether President Zuma should pay back a portion of the costs used to effect security upgrades to his homestead, Nhleko said an exercise conducted by the Nkandla fire and rescue service in February this year showed they were not equipped properly to fight fires at the homestead which consists of various thatch roof buildings.

The exercise showed using water from the swimming pool as opposed to fire hydrants was more effective to fighting fires.

“During the demonstration, the chief fire officer for Umhlathuze established that the suction pump could draw sufficient water from the pool at the required speed, whereas the fire hydrant’s lack of necessary water pressure was evident.”

Nhleko showed journalists a video of the exercise - complete with dramatic music playing in the background, and a firefighter standing next to Nkandla pool - explaining why the pool was a better source of water than fire hydrants.

Last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found in her report that the swimming pool was a non-security feature of the multi-million rand Nkandla upgrade.