“He wasn’t sent to a big country. We sent him to a limited space.” That was one of the explanations proffered by former international relations & co-operation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to the Zondo commission when asked to explain how it was that Bruce Koloane, having been found by a disciplinary inquiry to have orchestrated the Gupta landing at Waterkloof, nonetheless came to be appointed SA’s ambassador to the Netherlands.

That seems pretty daft. But no-one in the international diplomatic community should be sniggering. After all, the impeachment spectacle in the US has made plain that the exercise of foreign relations power is now propelled largely by whether the current president and his family stand to personally benefit.

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