I wrote this piece in response to “Mark from Utah” who sent me a private mail lambasting both myself and STTEP. Unfortunately, he has yet to discover the spell checker on his computer or learn to write without having to resort to blasphemy and swearing. As for South Africans having no right to work in Africa, you are obviously wired to the moon. I thank you for your negligible contribution, Mark.
For helping legitimate African governments with political and military advice and training, my men and I are frequently branded as “mercenaries” by some in the media and some foreign non-African governments. There is an old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones…”
When foreign companies do the same – they are “Private Military Contractors” (PMCs).
Ironically, we are not – and have never been - part of an invasion force intent on occupying an African country. We are invited to African countries by the legitimate governments who believe and know that we will not deceive them or come with a hidden agenda. It is, after all, the right of any government to decide who they wish to use to assist them – and not the right of the media or a foreign government to dictate who they may or may not use.
We have never killed innocent civilians, raped women, destroyed property or involved ourselves in any criminal acts such as antiquity and resource/mineral smuggling, weapon smuggling, human trafficking and such. We have not entered those countries that asked for help with an agenda other than ending the conflicts and saving innocents – but that apparently makes us the “bad guys”.
We have never wasted a client government’s money, abandoned them, played both sides of the fence, broken their trust or run away from their problems. Nor have we ever tried to sell them over-priced obsolete equipment that has no role to play in their conflicts.
As Africans, we have both a duty and a right to assist governments that wish to bring about stability – especially if they have asked for our help. That stability is to the advantage of our entire continent. I believe our working in Africa carries more validity than that of the many “one-week wonders” we have encountered in our travels across the continent. I suppose the next move will be an attempt to prohibit all South African companies from operating in Africa.
Yes, we served in our country’s armed forces and as such some of us operated in foreign countries – much as US and European forces do today. The armed forces do not chose where they will be deployed. However, the SADF’s pre-emptive strikes were condemned by the very governments that today follow similar policies. As an instrument of policy, the armed forces go where they are sent as part of the larger grand strategy of the State.
As we work at actually assisting African governments end their conflicts as rapidly and economically as possible, we are condemned. For assisting African governments achieve stability and end conflicts or terrorism, we attract the wrath of those who wish these actions, along with the slaughter of innocents, to continue despite preaching the opposite. Our record of success speaks volumes as far as I am concerned. Indeed, it has never been equalled. But, to prevent a client government or corporation from having to contend with the hostility that usually follows if we are used, we are now forced to do what we do in secret.
Despite the media lies that followed EO around, pushing destabilisation agendas and attempting to ensure the longevity of African rebel and terrorist groups, we have never been paid in oil, diamonds or any other mineral. I have yet to see the numerous mining concessions that the media, the UN and some foreign governments have claimed I/we were and are being paid with. Ironically, these perceptions still follow us around – despite being nothing other than cheap lies to advance criminal and rebel groups along with terrorism.
Fortunately, many of those “journalists” who so willingly sold their lies and souls to the media are now either without work or have been disgraced – one even very recently - for being caught out peddling other people’s agendas. The specialists who provided expert knowledge on EO have all been proven wrong – as will those who provide “expert” insights into STTEP.
We are not hired and paid for by our government to promote or push South Africa’s foreign policy – unlike many foreign PMCs. This however places us on a very un-level playing field as we are forced to compete with “free” offers. Sometimes we win, many times we don’t. Ironically, governments that accept these free offers usually end up losing their countries anyway.
We do not interfere with the agendas and foreign interests of outside governments – unless those interests coincide with fermenting unrest and promoting armed violence. More than anything, that puts us on the wrong side. Even the FBI have involved themselves in investigating us.
It is encouraging to note that some African governments are beginning to question the hypocrisy and attempts at creating false perceptions practised by some.
If nothing else, that is a good place to start.