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.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


(This is neither a media statement nor an invitation for party political rhetoric)

(Adapted from a talk I gave at the Rooiplaas gathering on 6 April 2019)

South Africa’s national security ought to be above petty party politics. Unfortunately, it is not.
I believe that many people in our government, and indeed most of our citizens, are unaware of the fact that, as a country, we are being targeted by Fourth Generation Warfare (FGW). I wrote about this phenomenon in my book Composite Warfare under the heading of 4th Evolution of Warfare.
I hope that I am wrong but what I see unfolding is not merely a clash between different ideologies but a concerted effort to bring about the collapse of the country. This will impact negatively on every citizen of the country regardless of colour, language, and religion, and unless there is dedicated, driven, and urgent intervention—supported by all political parties—the momentum will merely build up over time and will become increasingly difficult to stop.
Like any other conflict in Africa, FGW is about influence, interests, power, and resources.
FGW is characterised by the following:

1. It is multidimensional in nature and of long term duration. The build-up is gradual and its escalates over time
2. It includes acts of armed action, terror, sabotage, violent protests, and violent crimes driven by different ideologies that act as the glue holding it all together
3. Its support base is decentralised, and it (usually) enjoys covert financial support
4. It is a direct attack on a target’s culture, past, style of governance, and its support base, and includes attacks on—and the wanton murder of—civilians
5. Hate-speech is a vital component of this type of warfare as it adds to anger, division, tension, militancy, and hatred
6. It is a highly sophisticated psychological warfare and propaganda campaign conducted through mainstream and social media manipulation, internet/cyber warfare, internet trolls, and bots
7. All potential targets are placed under pressure ie political, economic, governance, social, law enforcement, and military. This is to create the perception that the government’s security forces are either unable or unwilling to intervene, or that they cannot be trusted to secure the populace
8. It contains threats of punishment, violence and/or sanction against any person or party that wishes to intervene or counter its end-goal. This will usually be driven by a small but vocal group of people who will use a distortion of both history and facts to justify and propagate their militancy. In this process of created anger, they will threaten to resort to an armed uprising  
9. It occurs in conflicts that are usually low intensity in nature and includes participants from all political and ideological sides
10. Non-participants (the populace) present the security forces with strategic, operational, and tactical dilemmas, but to the proponents of FGW, the populace standing between them and the government/security forces are merely collateral damage
11. It lacks an apparent and defined hierarchy
12. It appears small in size, but uses a vast and all-inclusive network of communication, media coverage, soft power, and financial support
13. It employs the use of tactics such as violent organised crime, violent and destructive protests, sabotage of state infrastructure, threats to disrupt and/or erode the health services, industry and food security, and even terrorism and small guerrilla actions.
14. Political warfare plays a large role in FGW to breakdown resistance.

Many of the above characteristics are already very visible in our political landscape.
I believe we are where we are as we do not have a coherent and realistic National Security Strategy to advise, support, strengthen, and guide our National Strategy. If a strategy is good but cannot be implemented, it is a waste of time and effort—and it gives the initiative to the bad guys.
Sadly, as seen from the recent report on our state intelligence services (SSA report), the SSA became a fiefdom and partisan intelligence organisation aimed at protecting personal interests instead of collecting intelligence on national interests. This placed us on a very dangerous trajectory of strategic failure. It has also eroded the pillars of state to such an extent that they are close to collapse.
This can only be turned around by reassessing these strategies, stopping the divisive and violent political rhetoric that is taking place, and re-establishing the rule of law. Just these few actions will go a long way in partly negating the political warfare/FGW campaign that is currently unfolding. Unless we do that, we will continue sinking.
As a result of these failures, the President can be likened to a ship’s captain that has a blind navigator. He knows where he wants to go but won’t be able to get there as the navigator has no clue where the map is, and he cannot see the iceberg that is rapidly approaching.