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If you’re looking for a moment when the dismantling of SA’s crime-fighting apparatus kicked into high gear, you’ll need to cast your mind back to December 2007. It was back then, in a sprawling tent erected at the University of Limpopo for the ANC’s Polokwane elective conference, that the ecstatic delegates celebrated the far-reaching resolutions that had just been adopted. Emotions were frayed. The ANC had just fired incumbent president Thabo Mbeki and elected Jacob Zuma as party leader. While the leadership race had grabbed the headlines, few focused on the resolution that would unleash an attempt to grab SA by the throat and bring the country to the edge of economic ruin. That resolution called for the creation of a "single police force" — a decision that would seal the fate of the Scorpions (or, as the unit was formally known, the Directorate of Special Operations, or DSO). The crack independent, multidisciplinary agency’s mandate was to prosecute those involved in organised cri...

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