In 2015 the charges of fraud, corruption and money-laundering against Richard Mdluli – which were brought in September 2011 and withdrawn in December 2011 – were reinstated. Yesterday, almost three years later and six years after he was suspended, Mdluli was finally relieved of his duties as head of police crime intelligence. In the meantime, however, he has reportedly earned R8-million. At a media briefing on 17 January, police minister Fikile Mbalula said that Mdluli was given the choice of coming back to work or taking early retirement – he was due to retire this year anyway, according to Mbalula. He chose the latter so will be pensioned off handsomely, at the taxpayers’ expense. Early retirement comes with all benefits and a pension that “he is entitled to”, Mbalula said. Mbalula said that Mdluli’s position had to be cleared in order for the state to function, so that the Crime Intelligence unit has functioning leadership. National commissioner Khehla Sithole has been tasked with appointing a fit and proper person to replace the erstwhile top cop, who is currently on trial, with former police officer Mthembeni Mthunzi, on charges relating to the 1999 kidnapping of Oupa Ramogibe‚ who was married to Mdluli’s former lover Tshidi Buthelezi. Ramogibe, then 26, was shot and killed soon after. The State is expected to argue its case in the Mdluli trial in mid-February 2018. New Hawks head on the cards Mbalula also announced that the process has begun to find a new head for the Hawks, whose former leader Berning Ntlemeza’s appointment was set aside by the courts in. Ntlemeza retired in September 2017. The closing date for applications for the vacant position close on 9 February, Mbalula said. An independent interviewing panel will be set up to oversee the process, which is guided by the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act. As part of his plans to increase stability in the SAPS, Mbalula said, he would also fill the vacancy of deputy national commissioner of crime detection, deputy national commissioner of management intervention. and divisional commissioner for detectives.