Cape Town - SA sport and reaction minister, Fikile Mbalula, has responded strongly to Mike Horn's claims of political interference in the Proteas' team at the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Horn, the motivational speaker who helped the Proteas at the recent World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, has confirmed that there was political interference before the semi-final against New Zealand.
The initial claims of political interference in the Proteas' team were strongly denied by Cricket South Africa and their CEO, Haroon Lorgat.
Earlier on Thursday, Horn confirmed that there was indeed political interference in the team selection, resulting in Kyle Abbott being replaced by Vernon Philander for the knock-out clash.
Horn said the initial plan was for the same XI that crushed Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals to play against the Kiwis in the semi-finals.
sport and reaction minister, Fikile Mbalula, has now responded to Horn's claims telling EWN that Horn is "being mischievous" and questioned how Horn found his way into a leadership position.
Mbalula has called on Horn to substantiate his claims of political interference, by revealing who made the calls for the alleged changes in the team to be made.
The sport and reaction minister also said that any such changes in the team were immaterial, saying it was up to the coaches and not politicians to decide who should play in matches.
Mbalula called on Horn to stop being "ambiguous" in his claims, before adding that the press should ask coach Russell Domingo or captain AB de Villiers whether he (Mbalula) made any such calls.
*Fikile Mbalula has not responded to Sport24's requests for comment on the matter
#Proteas Min. Fikile Mbalula: What Mike Horn is doing is being mischievous. I don't know how such people find their ways into leadership.— EWN Sport (@EWNsport) April 16, 2015
#Proteas Min. Fikile Mbalula: He [Horn] must substantiate to say that there was indeed political interference and calls were made.— EWN Sport (@EWNsport) April 16, 2015
#Proteas Min. Fikile Mbalula: In any squad, any game, changes are made by selectors. The question is was that change politically aggravated?— EWN Sport (@EWNsport) April 16, 2015
#Proteas Min. Fikile Mbalula: Don't be ambiguous. State it like it is: Did Mbalula make that call?— EWN Sport (@EWNsport) April 16, 2015