Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula briefs journalists on the international friendly between Bafana Bafana and Brazil during a news conference, Thursday, 6 March 2014. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

Johannesburg - South Africa won’t be like Kenya and send athletes to the Olympics “to drown in the pool”, Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula reportedly told journalists in Johannesburg on Tuesday, sparking a Twitter war.

Mbalula was responding to a question about racial quotas in South African sport.

 “You can't transform sports without targets,” he said. But at the same time, South Africa wouldn't be like Kenya and send athletes to the Olympics to “drown in the pool”.

The comment set off a Twitter war with the east African country tagged #SomeoneTellSouthAfrica.

One of the tweets read: “#Someonetellsouthafrica that while their semenya was busy pumping iron, our lupita was being named most beautiful woman in the world.”

“#someonetellsouthafrica that their nights of struggle digging gold ends up hanging in the necks of our athletes,” read another.

SA Olympic swimmer Ryk Neethling also jumped in, tweeting: “...funny thing is Kenya just beat South Africa in swimming at the Cana Zone III & IV Champs last week.”

Mbalula’s bizarre remark was reminiscent of President Jacob Zuma's own faux pas over Malawian roads.

In October last year, when Zuma was questioned about a justification for paying e-tolls, he said: “We can't think like Africans in Africa. It's not some national road in Malawi.”

Earlier this year, Mbalula also came under fire after he called Bafana Bafana a “bunch of losers” and “unbearable, useless individuals” after the hosts were knocked out of the 2014 African Nations Championship (Chan). - IOL