The sport and recreation department has denied paying R17 million for US singer Beyonce Knowles to perform at the sports awards later this year.

“No contract of R17m has been signed,” the department’s director-general Alec Moemi said yesterday. “This is a fabrication.”

Moemi said the department issued a tender every year asking companies to provide proposals on what they intended to feature at the awards if given the chance.

This year a company had proposed bringing Knowles, and had said it could arrange sponsors.

“We are quite keen and we are quite excited… if we can get Beyonce without paying for Beyonce,” he said.

However, it was just a proposal and the department had not yet decided who to appoint.

“We will not endorse such a thing (paying R17m) … but if other people pay for it and it is in line with our mandate, we are happy with it.”

News spread on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook yesterday that the department had apparently paid R17m to have the singer perform at the sports awards in November.

“It is a lie to say we are paying for it. Sponsors would pay for it. The base cost of the awards is ours, but we’ll not stop partners and sponsors who come forward,” said Moemi. – Sapa