Too many of our police stations are hives of corruption and inefficiency where officers cannot even take an intelligible affidavit, respond to a desperate call or hold a prisoner in a cell.
Despite years of restructuring, retraining and the renaming of our police force, the average South African still cannot rely on the local cops to protect him from crime.
But even in a time of inadequate resources and skills some stations compare with the best globally.
A recent survey by the DA found horrors and heroics at police stations throughout the country.
Despite structural flaws and organisational failings, the survey found that a few stations pulled off the impossible and provided citizens with excellent service.
The main indicator of success was the commanding officer's gumption, resourcefulness and leadership.
Sure, the DA is an opposition political party that thrives on highlighting government failures. But there is no sense in shooting the messenger, especially when from our own painful experience we all know that the gist of the message is true.
So let's acknowledge the accomplishments of those officers who are able to transform their stations despite the obstacles.
And instead of more talks and hand-wringing, let's identify how they get it right and copy their formula in every police station in the land.