Police minister Bheki Cele talks tough, once famously exhorting police to “shoot the bastards”. He also affects a fashion style to look tough, with sharp suits like 1950s Hollywood-style gangsters and a natty hat that earned him the nickname “Cat In The Hat”. But in a country still fighting raging corruption, how does the police minister’s record in that mighty struggle stack up?

Cele’s two predecessors were fizzles. Nathi Nhleko was Jacob Zuma’s praise-singer, while Fikile Mbalula was, and is, mostly bluster. In a country of violent crime, with an average of only 8% of murder cases actually proceeding to a successful prosecution, we cannot afford to have a third suspect police minister. But this question has arisen sharply again after the SA Revenue Service (Sars) swooped on former policeman, convicted drug dealer and “tenderpreneur” Panganathan “Timmy” Marimuthu, who in the past appears to have had dubious links to Cele.

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