Mpumalanga premier slams vaccine distribution tender claims as ’fake news’
DURBAN - Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has moved to dismiss allegations on social media that her relative was awarded a tender to distribute Covid-19 vaccines.
On Tuesday, an image surfaced on social media claiming that the owner of a company called Jova Vaccine Supply was awarded a distribution tender. It further claimed that the owner is related to the premier.
"No member of the Premier’s family is involved in an enterprise called 'Jova Vaccine Supply'. Such unfounded and disparaging allegations are part of the attempts by individuals or a group of individuals to tarnish the image of the Premier.
’’The peddling of fake news is not only irresponsible, it undermines the efforts of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) led by the Deputy President to successfully manage the roll-out of the vaccines and save lives," a statement from Mtsweni-Tsipane’s office read.
The statement went on to reiterate a message by the President explaining that the distribution of the vaccine and all ancillary logistics would be coordinated by the IMC.
"The Premier has urged the people of Mpumalanga to afford the IMC sufficient time to outline the distribution of the vaccines to provinces. The Premier urges the people of Mpumalanga to be vigilant and guard against the dissemination of fake news," the statement concluded.
The DA has further called for transparency on the claims.
"Although the Premier has refuted the allegations – including that any of her family members were involved with Jova Vaccine Supply – the Premier must provide the DA and the South African public with proof of her innocence.
’’The DA, therefore, demands a detailed provincial roll-out plan, which will contain the names and directors of any companies that are contracted, or are in the process of being contracted to distribute or administer the vaccines in Mpumalanga," DA health spokesperson in Mpumalanga Jane Sithole said.
She said the premier could not merely refute the claims levelled against her as the allegations around a tender of R200 million is serious and demands full transparency. According to the image, Jova Vaccine Supply was registered on January 29.
"It is crucial that Mtshweni-Tsipane plays open cards and release a transparent vaccine roll-out plan. We will closely monitor Premier Mtshweni-Tsipane’s next move in response to her alleged links to Jova Vaccine Supply," Sithole said.
The premier made headlines last month after failing to wear a mask at Jackson Mthembu’s funeral.