- The health ministry has denied that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize owns a PPE manufacturing company.
- The ministry issued a statement after the claims allegedly circulated on various social media platforms.
- The statement added that none of Mkhize's family members involved in the manufacture, sale or distribution of PPE.
The health ministry has said Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize does not own a personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing company.
The ministry sent out a statement on Monday after it became aware of a message circulating on various social media platforms which claimed that Mkhize owned a PPE manufacturing company.
"This message has appeared on various people's Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp threads," ministry spokesperson Lwazi Manzi said.
"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."
"We hope that this clarifies the matter and that all individuals that are either the originators of this content or those who have advanced the content by sharing or commenting will take the opportunity to immediately remove the content from their platforms and issue an apology to the Minister and to the public for advancing fake news."
Manzi said creating or advancing fake news remained an offence under the national state of disaster, and added that the department would not hesitate to take action against those responsible.
"This kind of content is damaging to the reputation of honest, hardworking members of the executive. It distracts away from and undermines the important work of fighting the coronavirus.
"We implore members of the public to be circumspect in their engagement with social media content and not find themselves becoming agents of fake news and misinformation."
- Compiled by Alex Mitchley
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