About Me

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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. Until recently, I was a contributing editor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


There has been a dramatic increase in “Save the Rhino” activities and programmes – very few of them actually aimed at saving the rhino. Instead, many of these so-called programmes are aimed at saving someone’s bank balance to the detriment of our dwindling rhino population.

Lately, numerous gadgets have made their appearance in the market aimed at evoking an emotional response to the majestic rhino. These vary from key-rings to place-maps to plastic bumper rhino horns. All proclaim to be aimed exclusively at generating money to contribute towards saving the rhino.

Maybe some of them are – but many, if not most, are definitely not.

At last count, there were 500 plus such schemes being driven to save our wildlife heritage. (This figure was given to me by a senior SARS investigator).  

Then, we have witnessed so-called Special Forces from foreign countries coming here to tell us what to do. Whereas they might be honourable in their intentions, just who are they to come here and act as though they are specialists in saving rhinos? What is their track record in saving rhinos and can they prove it? What would their reaction be if we travelled to their countries and tried to tell them how to save an endangered species? But, I suppose, TV programmes pay well even when there are no positive results.

Even more disturbing to me is a new venture that claims to be tied to my name.

Let me begin by saying that I am not – and have never been – associated in any manner or form with “Save the rhino” programmes, simply because they are not what they appear to be. In fact, I view the vast majority of these schemes with a very jaundiced eye.

I made my feelings known with regard to rhino poaching some time ago. I believe that we should hunt the rhino poachers and give them what they intend giving the rhinos – a taste of lead. We must do this with aggression and ruthlessness and show them no mercy at all. But, my feelings on this matter are considered to be politically incorrect in addition to giving no consideration to the human rights of the poachers.

People who go about collecting money for so-called anti-rhino poaching initiatives but who have no intention of passing those funds to an authorised programme to stop the poaching fall into the category of not only “conman” but “organised crime” – as I believe their actions are both criminal and organised.

Over the past years, I have bumped into or heard of many people who have claimed to represent me in numerous dodgy schemes; some claimed they are very closely associated with me, others claimed they are “secretly” working with me and some have even claimed to be me.

Enter someone who will be known by his initials – KB.

On 20 August 2013, I received an email from an ex-EO employee. In this email he asked the question: “…your name has come up with someone that is collecting money for the rhino cause. As many people do this falsely both use your name for things you have nothing to do with and others collect money the rhino causes never see.

This man claims he is heading up an intel network on poaching and I am told he says you are the head honcho. His name is K….. B…….”.

I have heard of KB but have never met him, have never agreed to support him in any manner or form and have never, until this morning, spoken to him. I take extreme exception to my name being used for a cause I deeply believe in but in which I am not involved in any manner whatsoever.

(I am currently utilising every source at my disposal to dig deeper into this matter. I contacted KB by phone this morning (31 August 2013) and he denied this claim – but then, so does everyone else I have confronted over the years. I have already reported this con to the relevant law enforcement authorities).

To those out there using the rhino as a money-making exercise, you will be exposed - sooner or later. As wildlife crimes are, according to media reports, the 3rd or 4th most serious criminal activity in the world, those who engage in money collections using the rhino as their cover are part of this criminal endeavour.

To unsuspecting people out there, be careful of people claiming to represent me. Question their intentions and dig deeper than that you are simply told - don’t just part with your money. If you have any doubts, report them.

If my name is tied to these schemes and thrown around by these cash-collectors, please let me know and I shall take very decisive action against them.

Monday, August 26, 2013


A lot of people have asked my thoughts on fragile and failed states. I believe the following with regard to fragile and failed states:

The distinction between a fragile and failed state is often blurred - depending on what definition is being used to describe the state - and who uses it and for what purpose.

It is generally perceived that a fragile state is a state that lacks the ability and/or the capacity to secure its Pillars, govern its environs and as a result, risks dissolution or rampant lawlessness along with extreme poverty, hunger and starvation coupled to a very high rate of unemployment and a negative economic growth curve.

A fragile state is, however, not necessarily on its way to becoming a failed state as a state can evolve from a fragile state to a more stable and secure state. A fragile state is, however, often a precursor to a failed state and is indeed often a state that has reached that tipping point.

Africa has numerous examples of states that are regarded as either fragile or failed. This classification does, however, depend on who stands to gain what from their fragility or failure.

It is generally accepted that fragile or failed states occur when governance fails, law and order cease to function effectively and the armed forces are unable to fulfil their mandates. But, generally speaking, governance as perceived by the populace is only one element that results in fragility or failure.

There are both internal and external threat drivers that can result in fragility or failure of a state.

When the Pillars of the State have been sufficiently eroded, it results in instability of the state. Once sufficient erosion has occurred, one or more of the pillars can collapse resulting in a domino effect across the spectrum of the state and thereby result in collapse or failure.

Regardless of how we view the state, there are certain general characteristics common to those we have worked in. These include inter alia the following:

1.     Lack of Grand Strategy or an unrealistic Grand Strategy
2.     Lack of National Security Strategy
3.     Fragmented, antagonistic political powerbases
4.     Weak central government and lack of or deficiency in governance
5.     Inability to implement policy
6.     Rampant corruption
7.     Poor to non-existent service delivery
8.     Weak economic strategy coupled to poverty
9.     Questionable loyalty of forces
10.  Breakdown of Law and Order
11.  Rampant transnational crime
12.  Regional and international isolation
13.  Increase in uncontrolled, heavily-armed and opposing militia groups
14.  Local, regional and international media pressure (mainstream and social)
15.  Weak intelligence structures/failing to listen to intelligence
16.  No professional Civil Service 

From a military point of view, we note the following characteristics usually abound:

1.     Lack of military strategy
2.     Mismatch between military strategy and national strategy
3.     Lack of military leadership and C3I
4.     Poor discipline
5.     Poor training
6.     Lack of salaries hence involvement in crime
7.     Poorly maintained, unserviceable and often inadequate equipment
8.     Inability to develop realistic, executable operational plans
9.     Poor TTPs
10.  Lack of trust or even fear from populace
11.  Units are incorrectly structured to counter threats
12.  Lack of coherent, workable doctrine
13.  Unrealistic expectations of their abilities
14.  Don’t understand the threat
15.  Not political astute and are partisan
16.  Largest ethnic group often dominates armed forces
17.  Disunity between forces/units and other security elements ie police, etc

It is critically important that a government recognises the downward slide towards fragility or failure and takes immediate and drastic intervention. Such intervention may result in government having to reassess its situation, realise that it has made mistakes and take immediate corrective action. These mistakes can be identified and rectified by monitoring the Pillars of State and their impact on the situation.

A fragile area or region within the borders of a country can result in the fragility extending into other areas within the same state. This can erode a stable state and result in a fragile or failed state and impact negatively on neighbouring states. However, these fragile or failed “pockets” within the state do not necessarily constitute a failed state.

I will attempt to discuss how fragility and/or failure of a state can be rectified in my next posting.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


And now for something completely different…

I have had repeated requests over the years to develop programmes or workshops to share my successful warfare strategies with the corporate world.

I now finally have some time to present these programmes and workshops on "battle field" strategies and tactics in a business environment.

To successfully manoeuvre within the complex and dynamic business battlefield, players need to understand the environment in which they plan to operate. Known as the Operating Environment (OE), it is this environment that shapes and guides their operations. It is also the OE that can either result in success for those who have correctly assessed it or spell disaster for those who enter it unprepared.

The programmes and workshops cover a number of fields including assessing and understanding the Operating Environment, leadership, strategy, the importance of doctrine, business “designs for battle”, the principles of marketing warfare, phases of marketing warfare, market penetration and exploitation, operating in hostile environments, intelligence and counter intelligence, security and asset protection and more.

Each workshop or training programme is designed to meet the specific requirements of an organisation - and is therefore unique.

Interested parties can contact me directly on the blog.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Numerous people have asked me for my thoughts regarding revolutionary governments.

Indeed, Africa has seen numerous governments come to power through revolutions - some relatively peaceful, some very violent. Invariably, the scars of the revolution remain and left unattended can result in an uprising of the populace or even a counter-revolution.

Without exception, every revolutionary government I have come into contact with is already politically and economically fragile with growing security and stability challenges. Without acknowledging their fragility and taking the necessary actions to strengthen the Pillars of State, they find themselves on the road to failure.  

Some of these revolutions have been internally motivated and some inspired and motivated by foreign interests. Regardless of how they came to power, most African revolutionary governments have similar characteristics. Failure to manage these characteristics can result in the government becoming a failed state.

Many of these governments believe that stability and economic growth “will improve” over time. It seldom does.

As these governments tend to be caught up in the moment, they miss the numerous threats and challenges facing them – until it is almost too late.  This failure results in them ultimately being forced to fight several fires on numerous fronts with little if any significant impact.

The lack of substantial visible improvements to their lot is usually viewed by the populace as an inability of the government – or even a lack of interest - to provide them with much needed security and stability.  This is especially prevalent in the early days of a revolutionary government.

It is, however, the characteristics of a revolutionary government that define its initial weaknesses. I view these characteristics and weaknesses as follows:  

1.     An over optimistic view of the future

2.     A belief that the majority of the populace share their visions for the future

3.     A lack of strategic, operational and tactical intelligence

4.     Lack of – or a fractured grand strategy

5.     Lack of – or a fractured national security strategy

6.     Lack of an acceptable Constitution

7.     A weak central government

8.     Fragmented powerbases

9.     Fragmented popular support

10.  Porous borders

11.  A lack of basic services

12.  A breakdown of law and order coupled to an increase in general and organised crime

13.  The uncontrolled flow of weapons

14.  Strong militia groups, each with their own agenda

15.  Disunity of the security forces coupled to questionable loyalty

16.  The polarisation of popular support that can result in assassinations, bombings, protests etc.

17.  A lack of cohesion, communication and cooperation between the security forces

18.  An increase in Internally Displaced People (IDPs)

Left unattended, these characteristics/weaknesses will result in an increase in negative media reporting, both locally and internationally as both the mainstream and social media exploit the situation. This negative perception results in a lack of inward investments, depriving the new government of much needed foreign investment and economic growth. This creates a ripple-effect across the population and often results in the populace becoming poorer than they were before the revolution.

Additionally, this creates the climate for a counter-revolution to be planned and launched by disgruntled militia groups and sectors of the previous regimes supporters. The counter-revolution will often manifest itself through acts of terror such as assassinations, bombings, an increase in violent crime, attacks against the leadership of the security forces and threats against the political and business leadership.

This volatile situation “empowers Salesmen to impersonate Statesmen” (credit to “Lionberger”s comment on my posting “The Specialists”) who simply add fuel to the fire as these salesmen- with no track record of success - dispense their bad advice at great financial and political cost to the government.  Equally unforgivable is the selling of security equipment to these governments that will have little if any use to securing the State.

Until revolutionary governments acknowledge and manage/rectify their weaknesses and find the correct people to advise and assist them, they will remain fragile and position themselves on the cusp of failure.