Johannesburg - Controversial head of crime intelligence Richard Mdluli has been "relieved from his duties" from the South African Police Service (SAPS), Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula announced on Wednesday.
Mdluli had been on suspension for the past six years while he is on trial for kidnapping and murder that took place in 1998. He has also faced numerous allegations of corruption.
"In the past five years Crime Intelligence has seen 12 acting divisional commissioners. In this regard I wish to announce that lieutenant general Richard Mdluli, who held the position of divisional commissioner, albeit under a long suspension, with mutual agreement, will be relieved of his duties with immediate effect," says Mbalula.
The minister said when he was appointed to the position he was alarmed by the fact that crime intelligence had had 12 acting divisional commissioners.
While he has been sitting at home on leave, Mdluli was earning his monthly salaries and bonuses, costing the department millions.
Mbalula said Mdluli's departure will bring some stability to the crime fighting unit.
He said he had instructed newly-appointed national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole to appoint a new divisional commissioner.
"I have instructed General Sitole to henceforth set out to appoint a fit and proper man or woman into the position without further delay. Again, I am saying we have no time to waste time."
Mbalula said his department was tired of paying people for staying at home and that is what pushed for Mdluli's removal.
The former head of Hawks Berning Ntlemeza has also official resigned, Mbalula said. This follows months of legal battles where Ntlemeza challenged his dismissal from unit.
Regarding the filling of Ntlemeza's post, Mbalula said the process was already underway to appoint a new head of the elite crime fighting unit.
“I have started with a process of appointing the new Directorate for Priority Crimes (DPCI) head as guided by SAPS Act. An advertisement for the vacancy has been published, and we anticipate finality of the process before the end of February 2018. An independent interviewing panel will be appointed to advise me on fit and proper shortlist of candidates to choose from and in this regard I invite our members and all South Africans who have this career passion to apply,” said Mbalula.
“The closing date for applications to reach my office is the 9th of February 2018, then after the panel shall conduct interviews and make a shortlist to be submitted to me for consideration. Further details are available on department’s website.”
The chairman of Parliament's portfolio committee on police meanwhile, welcomed Mbalula's announcement.
“Lieutenant General Mdluli’s discharge will enable police management to appoint a permanent leader with the requisite skills, energy and innovative plans to guide the division to deliver on its mandate. The stability brought by the appointment of a permanent leader is essential if the unit is to add value in intelligence-driven policing,” Francois Beukman said in a statement.
He said the committee has long been worried about the leadership vacuum in a key position, as well as Mduli's lengthy suspension with full benefits, without the conclusion of a disciplinary process.
Additional reporting by ANA