Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has clarified he does not believe the Digital Vibes investigation has anything to do with African National Congress (ANC) politics or the party's presidential race in 2022.
Mkhize said this following an article published by the Sunday Times, which said he had told his allies the probe was a ploy to eliminate him from contesting.
"The minister wishes to clarify that he does not believe that this investigation has anything to do with ANC politics or as referred to in the article, '2022'," the health department said in a statement.
It added it was Mkhize who advised its director-general to conduct an independent investigation after receiving the Auditor-General report that recommended the department must interrogate possible overcharging by Digital Vibes.
"It was also the minister who briefed the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] about this investigation, thereafter the SIU [Special Investigating Unit] publicly announced that it would use an already existing proclamation looking into matters of Covid-19 contracts malfeasance."
Mkhize acknowledged Ramaphosa had signed a proclamation to look into any allegations of graft relating to personal protective equipment (PPE).
The department said in any event, even before the SIU took over the investigation, it had initiated its own probe.
"It is therefore disingenuous to allege that this is linked to any political contestation," Mkhize added.
"At no point has the minister blamed the president for this investigation," the department said.
"The minister remains committed to co-operating with the investigation process as it proceeds, and will ensure that the department continues to do its work in rolling out the vaccination programme and put the necessary measures in place to mitigate the risk of the third wave."