Reports have established that Fikile Mbalula, South Africa’s Minister of Sports and Recreation hasn’t honored his monetary commitment to many SA athletes including the top three local finishers in the 2016 Comrades Marathon.
You’ll recall that the Minister announced incentives of R100,000, R40,000 and R20,000 respectively for the winners, second place finishers and for third place.
Now, it’s already five months since Mbalula made the announcement and he’s yet to pay the athletes for their outstanding performance.
The affected athletes are men’s winner David Gatebe (R100 000), second place Ludwick Mamabolo (R40 000) and Bongmusa Mthembu (R20 000). Women’s winner Charne Bosman (R100 000) and second place Caroline Wostmann (R40 000).
BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that the behavior is a norm for the Minister as he’s yet to pay the incentives promised to Olympic and Paralympic medalists.
The R700,ooo the Minister promised Mamelodi Sundowns players after their victory in the CAF Champions League will add to the long list of SA athletes wating for Mbalulu to honor his words and pay up the incentives he publicly promised.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) party has reacted to these revelations urging the Minster to show the same zeal he displayed when he announced the incentives and pay the athletes within the next 48 hours.
DA rebuked the Minister’s insatiable desire to hijack the publicity of SA athletes saying his inability to pay demonstrates “his typical rush of blood to the head without thorough consideration of how he would ensure that the athletes are promptly paid what they have been promised.
…It is unfair, inconsiderate and disrespectful to our elite athletes to be left hanging this long when they should be paid their monies while the Minister only finds the urgency to act when he piggybacks on their publicity,” added the party.
Commenting, Mbalula’s spokesperson Esethu Hasane remarked that the athletes might get the money they were promised by the end of the year.
According to Hasane, the Minister doesn’t have a set budget for the promises. He has to get approval from Treasury for the funds.
“His Excellence Recognition Programme,” he said, “doesn’t really get budgeted for by the department because we don’t know when and where athletes are going to compete, and how many athletes are going to win…”
Hasane argued that payouts to athletes are often times delayed because of the procedures requiring the involvement of relevant sports federations and Treasury’s approval of the funds.
“We usually take three months to pay, but if it’s an extraordinary case, it goes beyond three months,” stated Hasane.