Every time I am asked to compare the travails facing the US now and the 10-year political nightmare faced by SA under Jacob Zuma, I trot out one answer.

My stock answer is this: the US can withstand a poor and even malevolent presidency because its institutions are old, entrenched and very strong. SA nearly collapsed under Zuma because its institutions, built up over just the past 25 years, are relatively young, fragile and a work in progress. They could not hold a strong, malevolent and cunning leader like Zuma to account. Many collapsed under his Machiavellian manipulation...

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