“We would like to categorically state that Minister Mkhize does not own a PPE manufacturing company nor is he involved in any way in the manufacturing of PPE.“
THE MINISTRY of Health has slammed as fake news a message that has appeared on several social media platforms claiming that Health Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize owns a personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing company.
These claims were shared on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
“We would like to categorically state that Minister Mkhize does not own a PPE manufacturing company nor is he involved in any way in the manufacturing of PPE. In anticipation of any further emergence of fake news, we also categorically state that nobody in Minister Mkhize’s family is in the business of manufacturing, selling or distribution of PPE,” the ministry said on Monday.
The ministry also asked anyone involved in writing and sharing these claims to remove them from social media and apologise to Mkhize and the public for advancing fake news.
Creating or advancing fake news remains an offence under the National State of Disaster. In March, when President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the coronavirus outbreak a national disaster, one of the regulations promulgated was the criminalisation of dissemination of fake news about Covid-19.
The Department of Health added it would not hesitate to take action against those found to be creating or perpetuating fake news.
“This kind of content is damaging to the reputation of honest, hard-working members of the executive. It distracts from and undermines the important work of fighting the coronavirus. We are still in the midst of a pandemic and the best way to fight it is by arming ourselves with facts and sound knowledge that empowers us to defeat the coronavirus.
In recent weeks the government has been slammed for awarding Covid-19-related tenders to party members, family and friends.
Last week Ramaphosa asked his ministers to compile a list of Covid-19 tenders and submit it to him so he can release the information publicly.
In a leaked letter which was written on Wednesday and sent to all the ministers, Ramaphosa pleaded for their urgent co-operation, saying he wanted to make the list public.
He took the decision immediately after a Cabinet meeting and said the list of the tenders should be sent to a six-Cabinet committee chaired by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola.