Parliament said the notion that it condemned Minister Mbalula over his spat with the Olympic javelin thrower, Ms. Sunette Viljoen is inaccurate.
The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation said it noted with concern the incorrect and sensational claims alleging its condemnation of the Minister of Sports and Recreation over a spat with the Olympic javelin thrower.
Describing the circulating report as an “unfortunate exaggeration”, the Committee specified that it never issued such condemnation. It nonetheless, explained that:
“A journalist sought the Committee’s view on what her publication called a ‘twitter battle’ between Minister Mbalula and Ms. Viljoen and further asked if the Committee condoned ‘public spats’. A draft response, which the Chairperson of the Committee neither saw nor approved, made no reference to ‘condemnation’ of the Minister.
The Committee has always welcomed the efforts by Minister Mbalula to acknowledge the achievements of South African teams. The Committee also has full confidence in the professionalism that the Ministry has displayed in handling departmental matters, including the welfare of athletes.
Parliament is a legislative organ with a responsibility to conduct oversight over state departments. As such the Committee does not have any responsibility to get involved in the operations of departments. It also does not comment on matters which have not been tabled before it.”
Meanwhile, Minister Mbalula has upheld that his department always kept the promises it made to athletes in terms of incentives given to them.
“For over 11 years” he said, “nominees and winners of the Sport Award are given financial incentives. Secondly, I put it on record that we have always delivered on promises made to athletes in rewarding them following their good performances in representing the country.”
The Minister explained that at times, paying the incentives take time because of accountability processes that must be adhered to by the department and the federations.
“We will continue to meet all financial requirements before we make payments as this is paramount to clean governance. It is, therefore, disingenuous for anyone to create an impression that we did not deliver on the financial incentives promised to our Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
“All athletes, inclusive of Comrades Marathon Runners, have been paid,” added Minister Mbalula.