Pearl Thusi has revealed that she was originally a contender for the 2015 South African of The Year .
This was after Mbalula's department gave R1m each to Banyana Banyana (women's soccer team) and The Smoothies (women's hockey) to prepare for the Olympics.
"We are blessed and honoured to have Minister Mbalula in charge of our sports. The money will help us a great deal in the preparations for the Olympics," said Mahlangu.
The Free State-based Mahlangu was speaking at a gala dinner in Kempton Park on Tuesday hosted by Mbalula to congratulate the two teams for qualifying for the Olympics.
"We hope with this assistance you will be able to prepare well for the event, and we are confident you will come back winners," said Mbalula. "It would be great if you were to return with a medal, any medal, but even if you don't, you are still winners just by qualifying for the event."
Banyana Banyana and The Smoothies were paraded in an open-top bus through the streets of Mamelodi and Soweto on Monday.