Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has described as ” fake news” allegations that her daughter owns a company that has been awarded a tender to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in the province.
An image being distributed on social media reportedly claims the company “JOVA Vaccines Supply” is owned by Mtsweni-Tsipane’s daughter and was granted a tender of over R200-million for the distribution of vaccines.
It also alleges the company was paid an upfront payment of R1.5 million on Friday. In a statement, the Premier says no member of her family is involved in such a company.
She also reiterated the President’s message that the distribution of vaccines and all ancillary logistics will be coordinated by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19.
Vaccines arrive in SA:
On Monday, one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine landed at OR Tambo International Airport from India, with a few samples being sent to the National Control Laboratory (NCL) in Bloemfontein.
The NCL will test if all the ingredients specified are contained in the drugs received, this needs to be approved before the COVID-19 inoculation programme can be rolled-out nationally.
President Cyril Ramaphosa accompanied by his Deputy David Mabuza and Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize braved the unrelenting rain to personally receive South Africa’s first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines.
South Africa’s vaccine roll-out strategy:
Mtsweni-Tsipane under fire for not wearing a mask at Jackson Mthembu’s funeral
Mtsweni-Tsipane came under fire last week after she was seen without a mask during the funeral of Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga.
The Premier issued a statement apologising for what she described as a “momentarily lapse” of not wearing a mask during Mthembu’s funeral.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said he agreed with many members of the public that his department’s officials should have acted against Mtsweni-Tsipane for not wearing a mask at the funeral.
Mtsweni-Tsipane signed an admission of guilt statement at the Vosman police station in Witbank and issued a public apology after the incident sparked public outrage.
Meanwhile, the EFF in Mpumalanga rejected the premier’s apology and instead opened a case against her.
The party said it wanted her to be charged with failure to wear a mask in public.
Cele said their failure to respond swiftly is regrettable.