I just finish making potato salad for the Valentine’s party today. Tom struggled with bundling and getting the PEF documents sent off to Jo Burg until Gary Laake arrived yesterday morning to restore the icon that had disappeared from the church's computer screen. Gary also got our wireless Internet system working at Stethan Place. We told Gary we were sorry to hear that his truck was broken into and all his electronic equipment stolen in December. Gary said that the chief of police told him that robberies had doubled in the P.E. area in the last several months. A drug cartel is running a gang of thieves. They steal things and truck them to Cape Town where they are sold in second hand stores. Another truck transports the goods stolen in Cape Town to the Eastern Cape. Consequently it’s impossible to recover anything.
The economy is bad and there are many who can’t find work that are resorting to crime. With food, gas and electric prices going up, some become desperate and drug cartels are take advantage of the situation. They hire people to steal and give them a daily quota. Many Afrikaners feel the situation is getting worse. Poachers are killing rino's and selling their horns in Asia. They are more valuable per ounce than gold. We’ve lost 86 rinos since the beginning of the year. Most killed in Kruger—a huge game reserve near Johannesburg.
Farmers like the Thomas are selling out now that the government is considering “land reform.” When we did service at the Thomas farm on Tuesday I asked Chris which African country has been the most successful in transferring power to the black people. He said, “None of them.” Chris said that he was selling out because it was getting too expensive to pay his workers, manage the farm and feed and protect his stock. For three years he made no money because 3 hyena's were killing his sheep and often a poacher takes animals.
One of his neighbours noticed a police officer loading one of his sheep into the patrol car. He followed the man to the police station and stood guard over the patrol car until he could get another officer to verify that the policeman had stolen the animal. The farmer lodged a case against the patrol man.
We hurried back to Grahamstown and got there in time to unpack the car and get over to the church before institute started. Luckily all the text books had arrived. I had left mine back in P.E. Only four students showed up; both Iviwe Maphiry and Aviwe Petsha were new. Don’t know what happened to all the others. The class went well. Tom dropped me off home so he could go shopping with the branch presidency. The president walks. First counsellor Kahya rides a bicycle. Solomon Nathan Johnson, the second counsellor, has a car but does not have money for gas as he has not been paid for over a year. Evidently the school has scraped together a little money to keep him going while others who have not been paid left.
The ward mission leader was a “no show" again last night. When the missionaries arrived to pick him up he was not at home. They held correlation meeting without him. I asked Tom how things went but he did not know as the presidency met to discuss a possible new building. Church official in Cape Town requested that specification be forwarded even though we don’t have enough priesthood to justify a new building. However something needs to be done. We are losing members because of the long distance they must walk. Some have been mugged while walking to or from meetings. One university student told Tom her cell phone and purse were stolen as she walked to the church.
Elder Balmforth and his companion were robbed while teaching an investigator in a Cape Town township. Two men walked in to the woman’s shack saying they wanted to joined the discussion. Then, thinking the elders had valuables, they held them up and took their cell phones and the key to their car. President Wood transferred them the next day.
This has been Satan’s territory for thousands of years. Perhaps with the positive influence of the church, things will change. Tom feels that crime happens all over the world and not only in South Africa. We are careful and have never felt threatened. I must close now as it's time to leave for the activity.