Embattled KwaZulu-Natal health department head Busi Nyembezi has been suspended - more than a month after an independent probe initiated against her by Premier Sbu Ndebele presented its report.
Ndebele announced yesterday that a letter informing Nyembezi of her suspension was delivered to her.
He told MECs at a cabinet meeting that Nyembezi had been given seven days to respond to the letter.
The head of government communications in the province, Mandla Msomi, said Ndebele's decision was well supported.
"Cabinet endorsed the decision to suspend Nyembezi following recent developments in the management of the province's health department and her role as accounting officer and HOD," Msomi said.
He said the suspension followed an independent investigation by law firm Strauss Daly.
Nyembezi's suspension is a sequel to claims that she siphoned off more than R15 million in a tender scam.
The scam benefitted her company, Harambe Institute for Transformation, and its associated companies.
Details of the findings or charges against Nyembezi have not been made public.
Yesterday, Solomon Sibeko, Nyembezi's husband, told Sowetan she had not received the letter.
"We know nothing about the suspension. In fact, our lawyers have sent a letter demanding that the premier's office make available the report by the consultants."
Sibeko said he was not surprised by the developments.
"I was the one who in the first place asked that they suspend my wife and institute a commission of inquiry into the matter."
Last week, Sibeko broke his wife's silence on the issue and accused the KwaZulu-Natal government of trying to "buy out" his wife.
Ndebele's announcement came as senior health staffers within the department expressed concern that the Nyembezi matter was not "properly handled by senior government officials".
"Many feel that Nyembezi should have been suspended until the investigations had ended," said one insider.
The law firm was also required to investigate reports pertaining to the soured relationship between Nyembezi and her boss, MEC for health Peggy Nkonyeni.
The final report in Ndebele's possession is said to be "damning and suggests that Nyembezi be arrested".
Police have confirmed that the commercial crimes unit was investigating Nyembezi.