Fortunately we have not yet become so cynical that we aren't outraged when a top cop is found with his hand in the cookie jar.
News that the police bust a senior colleague and three of his underlings this week for allegedly selling confiscated drugs back to dealers has unnerved many.
Though many South Africans are becoming inured to politicians and their friends guzzling at the public trough, always at taxpayers' expense, we apparently still expect a measure of probity in our senior cops.
So it was reassuring to see news photographs of grim-faced officers bundling their seniors into custody.
The police service has been commendably open about this incident and senior cops have promised they will hunt down the quartet's accomplices in and out of the force.
We, the public, need that kind of reassurance in these strange times when the suspended head of the police has been accused of sheltering his drug-running buddies from the law.
Many ordinary citizens already fear that a two-tier system of justice is developing in South Africa, one for Joe Taxpayer and another for the elite and their cronies.
Not only must the bad apples be bust, the cops must take us into their confidence, tell us the extent of the rot and how it will be rooted out.