Health HOD saga causes deep divisions

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni is fed-up with divisions among her staff after an independent probe into alleged activities of her former confidante, friend and head of department, Busi Nyembezi.

A source close to both women said: "Some staff members feel Nyembezi's post is secure because she has not been suspended. They are loyal to her and are helping her run the department from her home. There are some sharp divisions in the department and it is not a happy place."

Another source said that Nyembezi is "hell bent" on making the department function smoothly again.

"Last week, she called a full staff meeting with acting head of department Xoliswa Mbhele to refocus the department and get things working again. Most employees were happy."

A senior staff member in the department, who also wished to remain anonymous, said many people inside and outside the department felt that the matter regarding Nyembezi was not "properly handled by senior government officials".

She said: "Many people feel Nyembezi should have been suspended, at least until the investigations were over.

"Nkonyeni is also very concerned because the department has more pressing challenges."

Nyembezi is on extended leave while allegations of a tender scam, involving more than R15million, are being probed.

Police confirmed that the commercial crimes unit was investigating Nyembezi.