This is a typical "This is Africa" anecdote of the kind that I've so come to miss over the years. It's a story of thievery and deceit, ingenuity and cunning. Like so many stories set in Africa, it somehow has the power to make you smile, even if one cannot condone or admire the perpetrators. In any other place on Earth it would be met with condemnation, but This is Africa!
For the first few weeks in South Africa, most expats fight a valiant fight, flailing their arms and willing things to happen NOW, not JUST NOW or even NOW NOW. But in the end, South Africa wins, so that eventually you are totally resigned to the fact that an errand, any errand, will always take the better part of a day, if not week, even if it is ever so small.