Athlete and minister in Twitter war

Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula Picture: Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images
Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula
Picture: Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images

South Africa’s sports minister branded Sunette Viljoen, the country’s Olympic javelin silver medallist, as “the most arrogant and thankless person . . . I’ve ever met” in an angry spat yesterday over cash bonuses.

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Fikile Mbalula and Viljoen exchanged insults on Twitter in the latest flare-up of a controversy in which the minister has been accused of breaking a promise to pay R70 000 to silver medal winners at the Rio Games.

Mbalula said in a series of tweets: “What was due to her was payed. [sic]

“[She] declared for all to kno[w] she doesn’t want the money . . . now she needs the money I must jump.”

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Viljoen earlier tweeted direct messages from Mbalula in which he wrote: “You said you don’t need it. So I stick with your wishes.”

She replied on Twitter saying she had “never, ever uttered these words. This is how you are treated for winning an Olympic medal. What a disgrace”.

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