Fikile Mbalula and Viljoen exchanged insults on Twitter in the latest flare-up of a controversy in which the minister has been accused of breaking a promise to pay 70,000 rand ($5,200) to silver medal winners at the Rio Games.
Sunette Viljoen “is the most arrogant and thankless person… I’ve ever met”, Mbalula said in a series of tweets. “What was due to her was payed.
“(She) declared for all to kno(w) she doesn’t want the money… now she needs the money I must jump.”
Viljoen earlier tweeted direct messages from Mbalula in which he wrote: “You said you don’t need it. So I stick with your wishes.”
The athlete replied on Twitter by saying she had “never, ever uttered these words. This is how you are treated for winning an Olympic medal. What a disgrace”.
The two have a history of disputes, with Viljoen often criticising how the government runs sport in South Africa.
The South Africa Olympic committee paid bonuses to successful Olympians.
Mbalula later announced extra bonuses when greeting the South African team as it arrived back at Johannesburg airport in August.
“Razzmatazz’ Mr Christmas is here,” he said, according to local media.
“It’s one way of a gesture to them to say ‘you have done us proud’. It is not about money’ it’s about the flag.”