As the old adage goes, when you don’t have anything nice to say rather don’t say anything at all. A certain sports minister has been burning up the Twitter-verse in a very public spat with the Olympic silver medallist Sunette Viljoen and it is sure to have his legal advisors worrying!
It is not the first time that the sports minister and the javelin superstar have clashed in public. The issue started in August when Viljoen exposed the some of the poor treatment that high level Olympic athletes had suffered financially in their build up to the Olympics. She stated that the financial incentives that had been promised to the athletes who excelled at the Games would probably not be paid timeously. Minister Mbalula was quoted in the press as saying that she “complains all the time and has a lot of negative energy...”
Yesterday, some three months after the Games, Viljoen revealed that she had still not been paid the bonus she was publicly promised by the Minister. He had responded to her text message by saying “You said you don’t need it... so I stick with your wishes...”
When she placed a screengrab of the exchange on Twitter he responded with a stream of Tweets on his feed which included such extraordinary statements as “@sunetteviljoen is the most arrogant and thankless person let alone being an athlete I have ever met.”
This could probably not be described as ministerial behaviour.
It seems that the public are supporting the athlete in this social media brawl, however, the Minister obviously has the power in his hands as he has both the promised money and the political control... only time will tell whether the public pressure can exude any influence over the powers that be.