Athletics

Mbalula launches Twitter tirade at Viljoen

Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)
Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, has launched an astonishing social media response to SA Olympian Sunette Viljoen after the star javelin thrower confirmed she's still awaiting payment of the bonus promised for winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics.

Prior to departure for this year's Games, as part of the incentive scheme, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) promised all Olympians (and Paralympians) R500 000 for a gold medal (R400 000 for the athlete, R100 000 for the coach), R250 000 for a silver medal (R200 000 / R50 000) and R100 000 for a bronze medal (R80 000 and R20 000).

Viljoen duly won a silver medal - and was paid the R200 000 owed to her.

However, upon the team's return to South Africa in late August, Mbalula took it upon himself to pay gold medalists a "bonus" of R100 000, silver medallists an additional R70 000 and bronze winners R50 000.

SASCOC were quick to confirm that this "bonus" was to be paid by the Department of Sport and Recreation and not by themselves.

On Monday, Viljoen took to Twitter to confirm that some 11 weeks later she's still waiting payment of the R70 000, adding a screen grab of a conversation she had via text message with Mbalula in which he claims Viljoen said she "didn't need the money" and thus would be "honouring her wishes".

Viljoen vehemently denied making such claims.

Sport24 contacted all 10 of the SA medal winners from Rio, and, while not wishing to be named, some confirmed they had been paid, while others are still awaiting payment.

Following Viljoen's social media post, Mbalula took to Twitter himself to post 12 messages in response.

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