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Superfan Mama Joy Chauke. File picture: GALLO IMAGES/TOBI ADEPOJU.
Superfan Mama Joy Chauke. File picture: GALLO IMAGES/TOBI ADEPOJU.

After a week in office, sport, arts and culture minister Gayton McKenzie is making financial decisions for the department as he plans to cut funding trips for sports superfans.

In 2023, the department sponsored travel and accommodation for superfans Mama Joy Chauke and Botha Msila’s trip to the Rugby World Cup in France. TimesLIVE previously reported the department spent R1.3m.

“I have stopped all trips for superfans. We have athletes and artists who are struggling to raise money to attend sporting events and exhibitions. How do we justify paying for fans? We will no longer pay for the trips and will use that money where it’s needed the most,” McKenzie said on Tuesday morning.

Previously speaking about the matter, the department clarified superfans were not paid salaries to attend games but their accommodation and travel expenses were paid. Department spokesperson Litha Mpondwana said that while Chauke and Botha had appeared at many games, the Rugby World Cup was the first time the department financed a trip for supporters’ attendance.

Gayton McKenzie. Picture: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images
Gayton McKenzie. Picture: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

Former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme was among those who defended Chauke when she was criticised by recently suspended DA MP Renaldo Gouws, who was unhappy about the trip.

“Mama Joy, stand tall against the negativity. While a few might resent the unwavering positivity and love you exude, a multitude, including me, champion and celebrate you. Your impactful presence is undeniable and you’ve become an enduring beacon of hope for many. Keep shining, Ma,” Van Damme said. 

“I am happy my tax money is also spent to promote national unity via sports in SA. Its power transcends politics, sparking rare moments of pure unity. Not everything should be clouded by political mess. Let’s distinguish the heart of our nation from the murkiness of politics.”

TimesLIVE

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