Cape Town - Controversial Sports and
Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula is back in the news after reportedly telling journalists at an ANC media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday that "South Africa won’t be like Kenya
and send athletes to the Olympics 'to drown in the pool'".
Mbalula's reported comments sparked a Twitter war, with former gold medal-winning Olympian Ryk Neethling even weighing into the debate.
Mbalula was responding to a question about racial quotas in South African sport, but veered off topic by insulting Kenyan athletes.
veered off topic by insulting Kenyan athletes.
“You can't transform sports without targets,”
he said. But at the same time, South Africa wouldn't be like Kenya and
send athletes to the Olympics to “drown in the pool”, he was reported to have said.
The comment set off a Twitter war with the east African country tagged #SomeoneTellSouthAfrica, with the DA calling for Mbalula to apologise for his comments.
One of the tweets read:
“#Someonetellsouthafrica that while their semenya was busy pumping iron,
our lupita was being named most beautiful woman in the world.”- which was in reference to Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o who won the award for Best Supporting Actress at the 2014 Oscars for her role in 12 Years a Slave.
Star SA swimmer Neethling also jumped
in, tweeting: “...funny thing is Kenya just beat South Africa in
swimming at the Cana Zone III & IV Champs last week.”
has a history of making ‘hot-headed’ comments, as he notoriously went
on the record to call the South African football team (known as Bafana
Bafana) “a bunch of losers” after they lost against a much stronger and
higher ranked Nigerian squad in the African Nations Championship in
South Africa. - See more at:
Mbalula has a history of making 'hot-headed' comments.
He notoriously called Bafana Bafana “a bunch of losers” after they lost against Nigeria in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) match in South Africa in January.
Mbalula's unverified Twitter account appeared to try to quell the storm.
“The media here always blow what we say out of proportion,” the Mbalula Twitter account tweeted in response to Twitter users questioning him on his Kenyan comments.
“#someonetellKenya that South Africa and Kenya have a shared vision of a united prosperous Africa. Use Twitter to educate not for petty fights,” the account tweeted further.
Before adding, “SAs, Kenyans instead of coming up with #tags to insult each other,come up with tags to advise each other on ways to develop our continent.”