Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says he used his own money to go watch the “fight of the century” in Las Vegas.
“You’re fighting with me when I used my own money to go watch a fight. I did not use [the department of] sport’s money,” Mbalula said today in Parliament.
His department’s budget debate is tonight, and opposition parties are probably going to haul him over the coals over this issue.
Mbalula was in the United States for the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight earlier this month and an uproar ensued over who had footed the bill.
In an answer to a Parliamentary question from the Freedom Front Plus, Mbalula said no tax money was used for the trip.
There were rumours that the arms dealer Ivor Ichikowitz had funded part of the trip.
Mbalula has boasted about his department’s clean audit, and said it showed that his team understood how to manage tax money efficiently.
“It is the highest achievement for a department. We got [the clean audit] through hard work and by managing our money without irregular expenditure, fruitless expenses and corruption. So don’t judge me when I go see Mayweather with my own money. You are fighting with me because I used my own money to go and watch a fight.”
Mbalula also said he has no concerns about Danny Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association, being appointed ANC mayor in the Nelson Mandela Metro.
“I have no concerns. Danny will continue to run Safa. Safa is managed by a chief executive and his management. The national executive committee is just the political body overseeing [the implementation of sport programme] and I have been happy with Danny’s work thus far.”
The budget debate starts at 5pm today in Parliament.