Fikile Mbalula

South Africa's Olympic medallists left OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg today for a whirl of engagements, but not before receiving cheques for their achievements.

Besides the value attached to her silver medal, runner Caster Semenya received a cheque for R200,000 from the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee.

Her coach Maria Mutola got R50,000.

Swimmer Cameron van der Burgh received R400,000 for his gold for breaststroke, as did Chad le Clos for his 200m butterfly win.

Le Clos got another R200,000 for tying for silver in the 100m butterfly.

Bridgitte Hartley got R80,000 for her bronze in the women's kayak single K1-500m sprint. Rowers Sizwe Ndlovu, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and James Thompson got R100,000 each for their gold in the men's lightweight four. Their coaches were also awarded cheques.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said the cheques were not enough and funders had to start “putting their money where there mouth is”.

“And this is where your mouth is,” he said, pointing at the athletes.

He said the Olympic team had restored the nation's pride.

“There are no words that can describe the joy you have delivered. I don't think you can completely understand what you have done to this great nation,” he told the medallists.

“Today we are united, black and white, because of your deeds... what you have done will remain in the annals of history.”