Thanks to Zuma‚ ‘firepool’ now has a Wiki page

Picture credit: Gallo
Picture credit: Gallo

Wikipedia is widely considered a relatively reliable source of information.

Schoolchildren use the online encyclopedia for projects. Students use it for research. Even South African cabinet ministers have clicked on it when preparing to defend lavish government spending.

Police minister Nathi Nhleko used it on Thursday when he presented his long-awaited and oft-delayed report into how much President Jacob Zuma should pay for the security upgrades done to his private residence.

When Nhleko started to lay out why Nkandla’s “ ‘Amphitheatre’ and/or Ground Retaining Wall” is deemed a necessary security he quoted Wikipedia.

“According to Wikipedia‚ ‘the walls of the amphitheatre are normally constructed in stepping dwarf walls that are suitable for people to sit comfortable (sic) and watch some kind of entertainment…this has been so since the ancient Roman times‚” he read.

This inspired one Wikipedia user to update the entry thus: “Amphitheatres can also be used for security reasons‚ most notably President Jacob Zuma of South Africa had one constructed at his Nkandla compound to use as a secure assembly meeting point.[12]”

Nhleko had said: “In case of any fire threats‚ bomb threat or medical emergencies the occupants of the homestead would assemble at this particular area referred to as ‘amphitheatre’.”

The same Wikipedia user‚ explaining his actions‚ went a bit further‚ and helped get the word firepool recognised worldwide. He posted on a South African forum: “You will notice that the honourable minister used Wikipedia to justify the security credentials of the AMPHITHEATRE. He didn’t use it for the firepool. That’s because there was no entry there (Until I put it there two minutes ago).

“You’re welcome‚ minister‚” he added.

Now‚ according to “A Firepool is a holding tank or other storage source for water to be used in firefighting purposes. It can be a backup on water mains or a the chief firefighting water source. A secondary use of a firepool could be for recreation purposes. The most notable (and only) firepool can be found at South African president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla compound‚ built as an essential security item for the sum of R2.8m.[1]”