Who’ll make good on Mbalula’s pledge?

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fikile mbalula Paralympics

INLSA

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula flanked by supporters, bids farewell to The SA Paralympians team at the O.R Tambo for their London Paralympics 2012. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Cape Town -

It is unclear where the extra funds promised to SA’s Paralympian medallists by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula will come from.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam on Sunday confirmed the Paralympic athletes will earn the same bonuses as their able-bodied counterparts at the London Games.

“We have conceded as Sascoc that we will go with the minister but what it will also mean is that going forward to 2016, we will have to do our planning better,” said Sam on Sunday.

Mbalula surprised Paralympic medal-winners on Saturday by announcing they deserved equal financial rewards.

Sascoc will have to fork out R7.9 million for the Paralympian medallists and their coaches.

“We have already started the ball rolling and on Sunday we asked the two gentlemen back home, Tubby Reddy (Sascoc CEO) and Alec Moemi (director general for sport) to go and find the money,” Sam said.

“So when the athletes arrive home, we would have already sorted it out.

“We are not going to debate the issue of whether or not we should increase the amounts because it would sour this campaign.”

On Sunday, the Sports Ministry said the money could come from the national lottery and Sascoc.

 But chairman of the National Lotteries Board, Ntshengedzeni Nevhutanda, said it was “difficult to comment” on the whether the additional funds needed would actually come from the lottery.

“I’m aware [of the minister’s comments] but it is difficult to comment when you don’t have [his] statements in front of you,” he said.

He said the lottery had been given money to Sascoc for the preparation of the Olympic and Paralympic teams, but that if additional money was needed, a formal application would need to be made.

“[To get] money from the Lotto you have to apply – and only when the window for applications is open,” he said.

He said the period for applying was not open at the moment, and that he had also not received any formal requests from the sports department.

“As soon as an application [from the sports department] comes, it will be dealt with as with any other application,” he said.

According to the incentive scheme set out by Sascoc in July, gold Olympic medallists were to receive R400 000 for each medal, while silver and bronze medals would scoop R200 000 and R80 000 respectively.

Paralympic medallists were promised R100 000 for gold, R75 000 for silver and R40 000 for bronze.

Coaches of Olympic medallists could also expect to be rewarded with R100 000 for a gold medal, R50 000 for a silver and R20 000 for a bronze.

At the time, Sascoc explained the disparity as being owing the fact that about 4 200 athletes would compete in the Paralympics with approximately 500 medals up for grabs, versus about 10 500 athletes competing in the Olympics for about 300 medals.

Sports Ministry spokesman Justin De Allende said the decision to increase the incentives for the Paralympic team had been made before Mbalula’s formal announcement on Saturday.

He said Paralympic athletes would receive their money on Tuesday when they were due to arrive back in the country.

 DA spokesman on sport, Winston Rabotapi, welcomed the increase saying that the Paralympic team had outclassed and performed far better than the able-bodied Olympic team.

He said he hoped Lotto would invest more in SA sport in general, but also called for more investment from business.

Cosatu has congratulated SA’s Paralympic team on their performance at the Games.

 Cosatu also welcomed the decision by Mbalula for Paralympic winners to receive the same monetary rewards as their Olympic counterparts.

“They deserve every cent of it,” it said.

Meanwhile, back in London Ernst van Dyk was nursing a hangover and getting ready to go for an MRI scan on a shoulder injury that had been bothering him for some time.

Ilse Hayes was still limping from a quad tear. Fanie van der Merwe showed off hands with several layers of skin missing, as he was trying to work out why people were calling him Ernst.

The Paralympics were over. Pain, suffering and delightful confusion reigned.

All of them, the medal winners of the SA team, were considerably better off than they had been before the weekend had started. Thanks to Mbalula, and his ability to allow emotions to influence his decisions, he ensured that they were worth a lot more money than they had been.

Mbalula will have to cough up R5.4m for his promise. Sascoc had a finite pool of R6m for both Games. The bill for both, thanks to the minister, came to more than R10m.

The Paralympic team arrives at OR Tambo International Airport at 7.30am on Tuesday.

Cape Argus

 

2012 Paralympics Games London: Team SA medal winners

Gold

Natalie du Toit: 100m butterfly (S9), 400m fresstyle (S9), 200m Indivudual Medley (SM9).

Charl Bouwer: 50m freestyle (S13).

Oscar Pistorius, Tshepo Bhebe, Arno Fourie, Samkelo Radebe, Zivan Smith: 4x100m relay (T42-46).

Ilse Hayes: Long Jump (F13).

Fanie van der Merwe: Men’s 100m.

Oscar Pistorius: 400m (T44).

Silver

Teboho Mokgalagadi: 100m (T35).

Dyan Buis: 100m (T38), 200m (T38).

Charl Bouwer: 100m freestyle (S13), 100m backstroke (S13).

Oscar Pistorius: 200m (T44).

Hilton Langenhoven: 400m (T12).

Ilse Hayes: 100m (T13).

Natalie du Toit: 100m Freestyle (S9).

Ernst van Dyk: Individual road race (H4).

Anrune Libenberg: 400m (T46).

Kevin Paul: 100m breaststroke (SB).

Bronze

Hendri Herbst: 100m freestyle (S11).

Achmat Hassiem: 100m butterfly (S10).

Jonathan Ntutu: 100m (T13).

Anrune Liebenberg: 200m (T46).

Union Sekailwe: 400m (T38).

Michael Louwrens: Shot put (F57/58).

Shireen Sapiro: 100m backstroke (S10).

Dyan Buis: Long jump (T38).

Arnu Fourie: 100m (T44)


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