This, as the Minister has been inundated with media reports raising questions on the legitimacy of the incentives given by the department to athletes.
In a statement on Monday, Minister Mbalula said it must be emphasised that the department has a long standing Excellence Recognition programme which counts among others in the annual Sport Awards.
“For over 11 years, 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.
“At times, paying these 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,” said the Minister.
At the welcoming ceremony of the country’s Olympians from the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, in August, Minister Mbalula announced that subsequent to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympics Committee’s (SASCOC) promise earlier in the year to award all gold medallists at the Olympics and Paralympic Games R500 000, additional cash prizes will be given.
Of the R500 000, R400 000 will go to the athlete and the remaining R100 000 to the coach.
At the time he announced that silver medallists would receive R200 000 with R50 000 going to their respective coaches, while bronze medal winners would receive R80 000 with their coaches receiving R20 000.
At the welcome ceremony for the country’s Paralympians from the Paralympic Games held in Rio, Minister Mbalula announced that that gold medallists would get R500 000, (plus R100 000 to the coach).
The silver medallists would get R200 000 with the coach getting R50 000. For bronze winners athletes would get R100 000 while the coach gets R30 000. Those who broke records would get R150 000 extra. Silver and bronze medallists would get an extra R30 000 bonus.
On Monday, Minister Mbalula said he will continue to support South African athletes.
“I will continue to support and show appreciation to South African athletes for their achievements and for representing this country with nothing but pride and selflessness. I will not be deterred by those who continue to believe our athletes are not worth the recognition,” said the Minister.