Joy as KZN health HOD 'resigns'

Mhlaba Memela and Mary Papayya

Mhlaba Memela and Mary Papayya

Workers of the provincial department of health in KwaZulu-Natal danced and celebrated in Pietermaritzburg yesterday over the sudden resignation of suspended department head Busi Nyembezi, pictured.

The workers gathered outside their offices in Pietermaritzburg and sang songs of joy. One placard read: "Who is 0% now".

"This is good news for us all," said National Health and Allied Workers Union shop steward Sipho Cele. "Nyembezi had no interest in serving the poor but only her own business."

Nyembezi was suspended in October 2007 amid allegations of fraud, corruption and a soured relationship with health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni and other senior managers.

Nyembezi's departure was announced by KwaZulu-Natal premier Sbu Ndebele on Wednesday evening. It comes less than a week after a search and seizure raid on the provincial health department premises by the Scorpions.

Ndebele said: "Nyembezi leaves the administration by mutual agreement in terms of the Public Service Act".

Scorpions spokesman Tlali Tlali told Sowetan that the "intervention was part of an investigation into the department".

"We are investigating offences that include theft, fraud and corruption against individuals," Tlali said.

He would not comment on whether Nyembezi was under investigation or the scope of the probe.

Yesterday, in an about-turn despite her anger at Ndebele, her demands that her name be cleared and a vow not to resign, Nyembezi said that she had stepped down "voluntarily".