It might just be a matter of perceptions, but it does seem a little off hand that our minister of sport, Fikile Mbalula, would admit on social media that he is going to watch Spanish soccer’s El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid this weekend.
It is a state of affairs that has opposition parties literally frothing at the mouth and represented the second consecutive time Mbalula has found other distractions more pressing than being present for a parliamentary question and answer session.
A previous holder of the sports portfolio, the well-padded Ngconde Balfour, was responsible for one of the crueler catchphrases during his tenure as sports minister, engendered, it is said, by his rather cavalier approach to invitations. “No buffet,” it went, “no Balfour.”
Mbalula, his detractors would suggest, has worked long and hard to earn a reputation for the bright lights reflected from various celebrities. You only have to recall the almost slavish way the minister trailed behind superstar professional fighter Floyd Mayweather Jnr during an expensive flying trip to South Africa that did nothing to help heal the damaged face of boxing in this country.
Or the way Mbalula made sure that he was front and centre under the television lights when South Africa welcomed home Rolene Strauss as our winner of the 2014 Miss World title.
Or, even worse, when the minister all but hijacked the homecoming celebrations after Mamelodi Sundowns had won the African Champions League crown in Egypt, though it could be well be argued that soccer is more in Mbalula’s compass than beauty pageants.
The brash Mbalula is a serial social media user and a near terminal selfie junkie, addictions which have often failed to work in his favour.
But a trip to Barcelona will do little for this country in general, while a few frank Mbalula replies in the House of Assembly just might.