Pietermaritzburg - The mystery surrounding the suspension of Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha has deepened, with news that she has not resumed duties as expected last week. Attempts to establish why Mafumbatha faced a disciplinary hearing more than six months ago were thwarted by the municipality. The Witness was informed last month that Mafumbatha would resume her position as spokesperson on October 1. However, acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda is still filling in. Mafumbatha was suspended earlier this year, but the circumstances surrounding her suspension remain unclear. Whether she was receiving a salary from the municipality during that time could also not be confirmed.According to a reliable source within the municipality, suspensions run for three months, with the suspended employee returning to work thereafter to find out the outcome of the disciplinary process. “This case of Thobeka is quite strange because she did not return to work after three months. No one knows why she was suspended in the first place, and when or if she will ever return to work,” said the source. Mafumbatha was appointed as the spokesperson of the municipality in May last year, shortly after former spokesperson Brian Zuma joined Maritzburg United as the team’s PR manager.Upon her appointment, Mafumbatha arrived at the city hall with big plans. In an interview with The Witness in May last year, she said she wanted to change the image of Pietermaritzburg to a positive one, so that people would want to come to live in the city. “I want it to become not only an economic hub, but a tourism destination as well,” she said. Journalists who met her at a media breakfast last year were forthright, saying that they would not give her an easy ride and that she should expect tough questions from them.An unfazed Mafumbatha said she believed that criticism and tough questions go with the terrain. “It will help us see our weaknesses and what needs to be put right,” she said.A municipal employee, who asked not to be named, said he had spoken to Mafumbatha recently, and “it seemed she was ready to return to work”.When questioned on Mafumbatha’s suspension and why she had not returned to work as expected, acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said employee relations matters were “strictly between an employer and employee, and as such will not be discussed in the media space”.Numerous attempts to contact Mafumbatha yesterday were unsuccessful.