Mbalula protests too much over Mayweather tour - DA

Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance has thrown yet another jab at Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula over boxing champion Floyd Mayweather’s SA tour.

This time, the party has accused the minister of protesting too much over funds spent by the department during Mayweather’s Reawakening the Giant Tour of South Africa in 2014.

On Friday, the Mbalula’s office denied that the minister had lied to Parliament about using taxpayer money to fund Mayweather’s tour, saying all funds were accounted for.

This followed several accusations by the DA.

“All Parliamentary questions by the DA and other parties have been answered truthfully and to the best of our knowledge and abilities based on records at our disposal within the department," Mbalula's office said in a statement on Friday.

DA sports spokesperson Solly Malatsi said on Sunday there was evidence of money paid to a sports media company for an event directly liked to Mayweather’s tour.

“These transactions are a clear confirmation that the Minister misled Parliament in his previous responses to our Parliamentary questions and that he lied to South Africans in several public statements,” Malatsi said in a statement.

He said they were not surprised at Mbalula’s “victim playing”.

“So colourful is his imagination that he now blames a "collaboration" between the DA and the media for the fact that his falsehoods have caught up with him,” he said.

They again accused the minister of failing to be truthful in his accounting.

Mbalula on Friday said he had accounted for all the funds used.

"We wish to state it on record that the purported amounts [R475 950] we have allegedly failed to disclose to Parliament have actually been disclosed in full.”

On Friday that sports department accused the DA and Netwerk24 's editor-in-chief, Adriaan Basson of being on a "political witch hunt" and colluding towards the downfall of the government.

Netwerk24 reported that documents from Mbalula's office revealed that almost half a million had been spent towards Mayweather's visit.

Basson rejected the allegations and said they were a diversion tactic.

"The minister is clearly trying to divert attention away from the untruths he told Parliament and the media about Mayweather’s January 2014 visit to South Africa.

"He categorically stated that the government did not pay one cent towards the visit. Documentation from his own department contradicts him. If he didn’t know, he should say so instead of launching ad hominem attacks against journalists doing their jobs," Basson said.

*Netwerk24 is part of the Media24 group that also owns News24.

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