Tony Leon Columnist

Last Wednesday, on the flight back to Cape Town from Johannesburg – the tail end of a long haul journey which commenced two days before in Sydney, Australia – I bumped into an old political acquaintance. Pravin Gordhan, the correctly heralded anti-hero of Zuma’s lost decade, asked where I had been while the great South African political melodrama – complete with a happy ending – was unfolding here.I advised him I had been in Australia when our unloved ex-president fell, noting that if I had stayed away longer perhaps the entire government might have disappeared. On Tuesday night this week, anyway, it changed its appearance, though not yet its overblown size, somewhat. In fact I spent the first and last days of my Australian visit in Perth, Western Australia, a city at the very edge of that massive faraway continent. It is so remote from the rest of the country that American writer Bill Bryson noted: “Perth is closer to Bali than it is to Sydney but it is far from everywhere.” When I...

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