November 22 was to be a big day for Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. He was set to introduce to South Africans their new national police commissioner, and he bristled with the kind of electricity that briefly consumes a submerged toaster, just before it explodes. After a run of bad luck, in which a string of previous pretenders to the throne had been variously jailed for corruption, fired for maladministration, suspended or made the subject of no less than a national commission of inquiry into their competence, this time it was going to be different. This time they had a career policeman who was 31 years deep into the complexities and intricacies of police work. This time, they had an expert. The press conference was packed. Mbalula had recently demanded that criminals "must piss and drink it" — a war cry he managed to get the entire SAPS corps to chant back at him. That rallying call to arms followed an equally helpful ministerial decree, that if criminals have balls, "we must crush...

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