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.

Monday, December 2, 2019



I was recently asked to comment on the Russian PMC Wagner’s role and their current lack of success in Mozambique.
I do not usually comment on the work of other PMCs, but as some in the mediavery falsely and stupidly—alluded and/or claimed I was part of Wagner’s creation, I feel I ought to voice my opinion. Others in the media, again very falsely, claimed that STTEP had submitted a proposal to the Mozambique government, but that it had been rejected—especially as no such proposal was ever submitted.
It is sometimes very difficult to counter the media’s constant lying with reference to EO/STTEP as people tend to believe the ‘creative journalism’ they read in the media without any verification of the story. I have been down that road before…
Equally dim-witted is the assertion that EO/STTEP were/get paid in ‘resources’. (It is very difficult to pay employees in barrels of oil, carats of diamonds, or whatever other resources I/we supposedly get paid in). I suppose by padding their stories with lies, some of these ‘journalists’ feel they are worthy of some journalistic prize.
Back to Wagner: It is a well-known fact that they are in Mozambique. It is also a well-known fact that they have found themselves totally out of their depth. I recently commented that arrogance and over confidence can result in disaster for those who are unprepared for deployment in Africa. Africa does not take kindly to a Western or Eastern doctrine, or such approaches to conflict as a template that can be superimposed on the continent.
I also commented that a lack of their understanding of the impact of the Operating Environment (OE), the Area of Operations (AO), the terrain, the threat, the customs and traditions of the local people in the AO, and so forth all indicate a definite lack of preparation.  As intelligence drives strategy, and tactics is related to terrain, it is apparent they missed that part as well.  
However, the mere fact that a Russian PMC is in Mozambique, is an indication that the Mozambique armed forces need help, and that South Africa missed a golden opportunity to project force by providing robust and effective support. Many African armies have become victims of their own making. But that is another argument for another day…
I certainly do not applaud the fact that Wagner suffered casualties. Rightly or wrongly, they are there to do a job—and if they are successful, much of Sub-Saharan Africa may benefit from their success. If they fail, the threat will simply be incentivised and gain additional support—and that ought to be of grave concern to the Mozambique government, and many other governments.
Am I pleased that Wagner are in Mozambique? No, as I believe there are other PMCs way better qualified and with a better track record than they have, but it was a decision taken by the Mozambique government.
Perhaps desperate times call for desperate measures…But ultimately, you get what you pay for.