The Department of Health has denied allegations of a tussle between President Cyril Ramaphosa and other members of Cabinet, involving the Covid-19 vaccine acquisition.
On Tuesday morning, Lwazi Manzi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said the ministry was concerned about an article entitled “Ramaphosa, Mkhize tussle over vaccines” published in the Sunday Independent on 14 February 2021.
“The article is both malicious and factually incorrect, further making unfitting conclusions about the relationship between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize with the aid of unnamed sources quoted therein,” Manzi said in a press release.
Manzi said the alleged “tussle” between Ramaphosa and Minister Mkhize was wholly untrue.
“So too are the comments made by shadowy unnamed sources quoted in the article who passed fallacious remarks about the president, the health minister and government’s Covid-19 vaccine acquisition strategy.”
He added that the working relationship between Ramaphosa, Deputy President David Mabuza, minister Mkhize, Cabinet, and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has been one of support, value, and efficiency.
“Any suggestion of a “tussle”, therefore, is completely unfounded and fallacious.”
Manzi explained South Africa’s fight against Covid-19 required a multi-faceted approach.
“This is why president Ramaphosa correctly convened a strong Inter-Ministerial Committee [IMC] comprising all the work streams needed to facilitate the implementation of a successful vaccination programme,” Manzi said.
“To suggest that the IMC was created for any other purpose other than to maintain maximum coordination at the government level is completely wrong. The IMC is working extremely well while faced with an undertaking bigger than any previously experienced.”
He said suggesting vaccine acquisition was an issue of personal preference was “completely outrageous.”
“We once again caution the media against publishing incorrect information, or purposeful disinformation, in attempts to sew division and compromise South Africa’s fight against this deadly pandemic. Only by working together can this virus be defeated,” Manzi concluded.