Three ambassadors, three scandals, three different outcomes
In Britain, the ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch, is highly embarrassed - as is the country - when his secret, though highly undiplomatic, official cables about Donald Trump are leaked to the media.
In South Africa, no one is embarrassed when our ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane leaks her own innermost thoughts about “white cowards and shivering land thieves” straight on to Twitter for all to read.
Darroch resigns when he realises that the person widely touted to be Britain’s next prime minister, Boris Johnson, will not protect him against the unwarranted, unnecessary and totally unhinged personal attacks on him by the president of the US.
Mandela-Hlongwane goes straight back on to Twitter after a private conversation with International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor.
Our ambassador to the Netherlands tells the Zondo commission on state capture that he lied about originally being pressured to allow the Guptas to land their wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force base in 2013, but instead used president Jacob Zuma and the then-defence minister’s names off his own bat, breaching this country’s security in the process.
Then he blithely leaves the country and flies back to his job - a posting that the entire country believes he only got in the first place for doing Zuma’s bidding - the very man that the Zondo commission was effectively set up to investigate.
The bitter irony of a very good diplomat being sacrificed on the altar of the worst political opportunism and expedience is matched only by the bitter irony of a very good leader trying to clean up an entire country being seen through the prism of the selfish and venal acts of two people who were chosen as the best representatives we could send overseas.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us.