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Mbalula defends dept in row over unpaid incentives to athletes

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says his department has always honoured promises to reward athletes for outstanding performances.

FILE: Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has come out in defence of his department following claims that it has failed to follow through on the promise of financial incentives to athletes.

Last week Mbalula and silver medalist Sunette Viljoen clashed on social media after the athlete accused the minister of not paying the money he promised for her performance at the Olympic Games in August.

The minister says due process has to be followed before an athlete can be paid out.

Mbalula says the department has always honoured promises to reward athletes for outstanding performances while representing the country.

The minister’s spokesperson Esethu Hasane said: “Because of processes that are sometimes beyond our control, they take longer than 30 days. But the money always reaches the athletes.”

Hasane says all financial incentives have to be approved by the Treasury.

“We do deliver but there are processes and the department does not bypass any step.”

He’s confirmed that all athletes owed money by the department have now been paid.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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