Cape Town - Sport minister Fikile Mbalula has come in for widespread criticism following his extraordinary Twitter tirade with SA Olympic javelin thrower, Sunette Viljoen.
On Monday Mbalula took to social media to post no fewer than 12 tweets slating Viljoen who has asked when she can expect payment of a R70 000 "bonus" Mbalula had promised to silver medal winners upon Team SA's return from the Rio Olympics some 11 weeks ago.
Viljoen had taken to Twitter herself earlier in the day to upload a text conversation she had with Mbalula in which she asked the minister when he would make good on his promise as she "really needs it (the money)".
Mbalula responded, writing: “You said you don’t need it. So I stick with your wishes” to which Viljoen replied confirming she “never ever” uttered those words.
Mbalula had promised all gold medal winners a R100 000 bonus, all silver medalists R70 000 and bronze medal winners R50 000.
In addition, according to a City Press article, Mbalula is still to deliver on another monetary promise - to those who excelled at this year's Comrades Marathon nearly six months ago.
Mbalula had announced a R100 000 bonus to winners of the race in May, including R40 000 for second-place finishers and R20 000 for third-place achievers.
The public leapt to Viljoen's defence, with social media flooded with tweets sympathetic to her plight from fellow Olympians and notable personalities, while others suggested she may have a legal case against Mbalula and urged Viljoen's Rio Games team-mates to speak out in support and confirm whether they too were awaiting payment.