Archive for category South Africa

Film: Battleground–Rhino Wars

This is a new miniseries coming out on Animal Planet which looks pretty interesting. They have recruited some former SF types to work with a South African anti-poaching unit to take this on and you can check out what they will be doing in the video below.

What is really cool about this show is that it brings attention to a very desperate fight that is going on right now to protect these animals. Check it out. –Matt


Battleground: Rhino Wars

The world renowned Greater Kruger area of South Africa, just north of Johannesburg, is the new ground zero in a war to protect magnificent creatures on the edge of extinction. Rhinoceroses are being hunted to death by poachers who will stop at nothing to kill them just to take their horns. The death toll is astonishing; last year alone, nearly 700 rhinos were killed with baby rhinos and calves separated from their mothers and left to fend on their own. The human toll too is steep. More than 100 park rangers have been killed by these poachers in the battle to halt these criminals. The situation is worsening. Park rangers and security forces are desperate for help. And now four U.S. Special Forces veterans have come to help fight for the rhinos…

Beginning on Thursday, March 7, at 9 PM (ET/PT), Animal Planet will be embedded in Battleground: Rhino Wars, a three-part miniseries that documents this intense conflict that is centered on the worldwide commercial demand for rhino horns, an exotic commodity that’s more valuable than gold on the black market. The miniseries reveals the conflict between blood-thirsty poachers and one of South Africa’s anti-poaching units, which has recruited armed forces to stop the illegal, lucrative trade of rhino horns. Cameras reveal a bloody war that these elite U.S. warriors find themselves fighting, in an area where both rhinos and people are being slaughtered with increasing regularity.

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Industry Talk: ‘Bahrainisation’ And PMSC’s

Sometimes stories like this pop up that barely get any mention, but are pretty interesting and actually tell a bigger story. In this deal, Bahrain is actually trying to get more Bahrainis to work in private security, and this has become difficult to do for these security companies. It is a wealthy nation, and security guard work is not exactly the most attractive occupation.

That, and these security companies would probably have to pay more in order to attract more Bahrainis. I have written in the past about companies like the Fauji Foundation that have been providing Pakistani security contractors for years in Bahrain. Companies like this would have to now contend with having a certain percentage of Bahrainis in their ranks in order to continue working in the country–and would have to eat the cost of increased salaries. But hey, if this is what the king wants, this is what he will get.

You also see a little bit of this type of thing in South Africa currently. There, they have been trying to push through some legislation requiring that security companies operating there must be a majority owned by South Africans. A ‘South-Africanisation’ of the security industry so to speak.

There is also equal protest against such a move. Here is a quote from the Security Industry Alliance about this legislation.

Security Industry Alliance (SIA), an umbrella group of large security firms, said the proposals could cause many companies to “divest, leaving skills, capability and technical support gaps”.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in both countries, and to see if similar deals happen elsewhere? –Matt


Security firms’ plea to Premier
Sunday, December 02, 2012
An appeal has gone out for His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to intervene and save private security companies from closing down and dismissing Bahrainis. Owners of 14 such companies called on the Premier to issue directives to the Labour Ministry to this effect. They said the ministry has disregarded their repeated calls for consultations to reach a satisfactory formula for recruitment and a Bahrainisation percentage to suit the nature of security guard work. Bahrainis had turned away from becoming security guards and they said they had requested the ministry to reconsider the Bahrainisation percentage. They presented recommendations to address the shortage of Bahrainis in the field, notably, reducing Bahrainisation in this sector for a temporary period while raising work visa fees for an expatriate security guard to BD300.
Story here.

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Company Spotlight: Mountain Men Security–A Crime Fighting, Man Tracking PSC

The development of Mountain Men’s Special Response Team (SRT) was as a result of an increase in home invasions, armed robberies and violent crime. Our SRT members are all trained man trackers and have the ability to track suspects who flee a crime scene. This is very helpful in areas where there are vast tracts of land, mountainous terrain and forests or green belts. These members have made a huge dent in criminal operations in the areas where they have been deployed. Together with specialized units of the South African Police Service, we have arrested armed robbers, wanted suspects, house breakers and recovered hundreds of thousands of rands worth of stolen property.
Our Armed Response Units and Protection Services Units all interact with our SRT members which makes us a formidable force in the fight against crime. We have made in excess of 2 640 arrests over the past 12 years, averaging 18 arrests per month for serious crimes.

The other day I was perusing Facebook and checking out some news with some of my readers and friends. One reader’s page I like to check out from time to time is David Scott-Donelan’s. He posted a picture from a trip to South Africa awhile back and talked about a private security company that he helped train in tactical tracking. That company is Mountain Men Security, and what they have done with that training is truly amazing.

Basically this company is providing a security service and a tracking service in conjunction with the South African Police. They are working together in a public/private partnership, and MMS’s is providing the hunters.

These hunters are called the SRT or special response team, and they are using the skills David taught them to track down criminals.  In the video below, you get a sample of what they are doing. I thought this was awesome, and this company deserves to be in my ‘company spotlight’ category.

In the past I discussed the value of tracking to security contractors, military and police. Groups like Koevoet or the Selous Scouts made great use of tracking to locate criminals or enemies. You hear of military or police forces using these skills from time to time, but a private security company using these skills is just rare and very cool. It is also producing results and making their services valuable to the local community.

So bravo to Mountain Men Security for making those skills work for them. Best of all, you can see their arrests made on the front of the website. The community they are protecting can actually see the value, and know that if a criminal is on the loose, these guys will soon be hunting them down. –Matt


The Scott-Donelan Tracking School website here.

Mountain Men Security website here.


The history of Mountain Men Security

In 1998 former South African Police Force Murder and Robbery detective, Allan Dillon, retired police officer, Patrick Freeman, and friend, Billy Bownes, began conducting neighbourhood crime prevention duties in the Lakeside area in their spare time as a result of an increase in criminal activities in the Lakeside area. With their combined police experience and good knowledge of the area, criminals were being apprehended whilst breaking into houses and motor vehicles and soon the community were calling the three crime fighters “The Mountain Men”.
This subsequently led to the formation of a security company which has grown from three persons patrolling Lakeside on bicycles and conducting observation duties from the mountain above Lakeside to a structured security company with 70 plus employees, a 24 hour control room which monitors alarm systems, dispatches our own armed response vehicles, monitors CCTV live and on event activations, as well as interfaces between SAPS, Metro Police, National Parks Board, Neighbourhood watches and members of the public.
As the face of crime continued to change in South Africa so did our approach to protecting our community and clients. We soon realized that an armed response service on its own is a reactive service and is in fact your last line of defence, not your first. We implemented crime fighting strategies and relooked at the way in which crime was being fought in our areas of operation.
The development of Mountain Men’s Special Response Team (SRT) was as a result of an increase in home invasions, armed robberies and violent crime. Our SRT members are all trained man trackers and have the ability to track suspects who flee a crime scene. This is very helpful in areas where there are vast tracts of land, mountainous terrain and forests or green belts. These members have made a huge dent in criminal operations in the areas where they have been deployed. Together with specialized units of the South African Police Service, we have arrested armed robbers, wanted suspects, house breakers and recovered hundreds of thousands of rands worth of stolen property.
Our Armed Response Units and Protection Services Units all interact with our SRT members which makes us a formidable force in the fight against crime. We have made in excess of 2 640 arrests over the past 12 years, averaging 18 arrests per month for serious crimes.
Our K9 Unit with a tracking dog has given us great results and has leveraged our manpower in the fight against crime. Presently we are expanding this unit.
As we move forward into the future we continue to embrace technology and raise the standard of training of our officers. We continue to offer our clients and the communities where we work an innovative and results based security service. TODAY, AN ARMED RESPONSE SERVICE ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
Company website here.

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Somalia: Sterling Corporate Services Replaces Saracen International For Training Puntland’s PMPF

With the news of contractor Lodewyk Pietersen being killed by his PMPF force that he was mentoring, I wanted to bring some attention to the company he was working for. Apparently Sterling Corporate Services replaced Saracen International as the prime vendor for training and mentoring Puntland’s anti-piracy force.

Of course this came out last February and I missed this news somehow. Either way, better late than never as they say, and thanks to a reader for pointing out this information.

So who is Sterling Corporate Services?  From the sounds of it, it looks like most of the guys that were with Saracen Int. just changed t-shirts and jumped into a new company. The UAE is still paying for the whole thing as well.

Also, the PMPF has a website which has several links to what is going on with the contract and their anti-piracy efforts on land.They even have a wikipedia entry, just so you can see the overall history of this force and what they are up to.

But as far as a website for SCS, that is a no go. Which is too bad because I could have done more to promote what these guys are doing in Puntland as opposed to finding out what they are doing after one of their guys gets killed while on an operation. With that said, if anyone from the company would like to correct the record as to what happened to your contractor, the industry and public would like to know.

The other reason why SCS should come up and speak about what happened, is because their competitors are taking advantage of this vacuum or ‘lack’ of information and spreading all sorts of negative information to discredit them. Pretty soon, rumor becomes fact, and then you get the main stream media reporting off of these rumors. So keeping quiet can sometimes do more harm than good, and especially in today’s fast paced social networked environment. At the least you should be contacting new media folks like myself, just because my readership are industry folks and the public. –Matt



Puntland counter-piracy force poised for launch
23 February 2012
by Richard Meade
An armed counter-piracy police force, funded by the UAE government and trained by private security, is poised to begin operations inside the Somali state of Puntland after previous attempts to launch such a force floundered.
Speaking exclusively to Lloyd’s List ahead of the UK-sponsored Somalia conference being held in London today, Puntland’s interior minister Abdullahi Ahmed Jama confirmed that the Puntland Maritime Police Force would be resuming operations imminently and directly targeting pirate gangs on land.
The Puntland counter-piracy force was established back in 2010, before being suspended in February last year under pressure from several UN agencies who criticised the force’s lack of transparency, the issue of arms sanctions and the lack of a legal framework to support operations.
According to Mr Jama those issues have now been resolved and the police force is now expected to resume training and recruiting with the backing of international governments.
The Puntland police force will operate with the co-operation of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia which is understood to be pursuing similar plans involving private security trained forces.
According to Mr Jama, the Puntland force is a locally recruited, armed coastal police force established to fight piracy on land and protect Somali marine resources. It has been formed, he argued, in direct response to multiple UN Security Council Resolutions and demands from the international community for the Somali authorities to build security and law enforcement institutions to address piracy.

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Jobs: Team Members-Maritime Security, South Africa

This is cool. Control Risks is opening up shop in South Africa and flying some maritime security positions. This probably coincides with the latest news about South Africa’s view on foreign security companies and maritime security.

I am not the POC or recruiter for this and please follow the directions below if you would like to apply. Also, I have no idea about the weapons and equipment for this contract, or any of the other particulars. So definitely ask those questions when talking with the recruiter. Good luck and I will keep my eyes and ears open for any other companies that set up in South Africa for maritime security work. –Matt


Team Members – Maritime Security
Control Risks
Control Risks is a global risk consultancy specialising in helping organisations manage political, integrity and security risks in complex and hostile environments.
We are a medium sized, rapidly growing company. Since our inception in 1975, we have worked with more than 5,000 clients in over 135 countries worldwide. Our renowned expertise, the breadth of our services and the geographical reach of our organisation enables us to help our clients meet their challenges and realise new business opportunities across the world.
Employer Vision:
People should come to work with us because we provide real benefit to many of the world’s leading organisations. In doing so we give our people direct responsibility, career development and the opportunity to work on some fascinating projects in a rewarding, diverse and enjoyable environment.
Job Title:
Team members- Maritime Security
Mobile, but hub location will be South Africa
Type of Engagement:
Fixed Term Contract
Crisis Security Consulting (CSC) Middle East
Operations Manager, Maritime
Job Purpose:
To provide security services and general guidance to the Master and crew of merchant vessels in transit.
Tasks and Responsibilities:
-Provide general guidance to the Crew and carry out drills, training and preparations for the Transit as agreed with the Master
-Advising and/or assisting with the hardening of the Vessel in accordance with Owners’ instructions and, where applicable, in accordance with the guidance of BMP
-Monitor suspicious vessels or craft during the Transit

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Maritime Security: South Africa Ponders Armed Guards Aboard Merchant Ships

Anyone that has followed the legal show in South Africa towards private security should take note of this one. I was sickened by SA’s treatment of the brave contractors that went to Iraq or Afghanistan. Men were killed and wounded in these wars, and the professionalism and dedication they presented was awesome. They should have been celebrated for their service, and not demonized.

With that said, I think this latest news about SA re-evaluating the value of such men is good news. These veterans in SA would do a fantastic job of defending merchant ships. Not only that, but SA is strategically situated on the continent to take advantage of this market.

From providing floating armories to providing training, SA is in a position to certainly be of value to the industry. So I hope they do work out the legalities and allow armed guards on boats. We will see…

Another point I wanted make with this post, is the Enrica Lexie incident, where Italian Marines posted on this merchant vessel shot and killed some innocent fishermen thinking they were pirates. It has caused quite the stir between India and Italy.

What I wanted to point out was that this was a military detail, and not a private security force. With military details, a ship’s captain really has no say so on what they do–they are military, following the orders of their command. With PSC’s, a ship’s captain calls the shots, and if that PSC doesn’t like it, the ship owners contract the services of another PSC.  That is one of the key advantages with private versus public.

Also, Admiral Nirmal Verma conveniently removes this distinction in his commentary about this incident. That he forgot to mention that this was a ‘military detail’ that did this, and not a PSC.

With that said, eventually a PSC will have an accident. It is bound to happen and when it does, you will certainly see the opposition to private security on vessels use this as a reason why we should not have armed guards on boats. It is the typical knee-jerk reaction of such incidents, and we need to get prepared for it.

This is the floating iceberg of maritime security, and I think it would be prudent for groups like SAMI or BIMCO to have a discussion about how this can be best mitigated. I think all ship owners are watching the Enrica Lexie incident and thinking, what would happen if my guards shot and killed some innocent fishermen in a similar horrible mistake? What is the plan? Or do you just operate on ‘hope and prayers’ that it won’t happen…..?

Of course everyone is working on ensuring this does not happen. Standards and codes of conduct are being produced and signed by folks all over the world. But what is important to note is that we are still humans. We make mistakes and things can go wrong, despite all of the training and all of the rules/laws.  So there should be consideration by all parties as to how best to deal with this reality. Talk with the lawyers, talk with those who have suffered such consequences, and learn from these nightmare scenarios on how best to navigate them. Be prepared as they say….-Matt


SA ponders armed guards aboard merchant ships
By Dean Wingrin
Thursday, 12 April 2012
South Africa has been asked to grapple with the question of how to deal with armed guards aboard civilian ships at sea.
In her keynote address at the opening of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium in Cape Town yesterday, Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, stated that a number of European countries had approached South Africa with the request that South Africa assist the armed guards that provide anti-piracy protection aboard merchant ships off the east coast of Africa.
“We would like to be advised by yourselves on the ethics and viability of this,” Sisulu asked the Symposium.
Speaking to reporters after her address, Sisulu said that the world was turning to providing onboard security to protect their vessels against piracy. As a result, South Africa was required to grapple with this issue and give it the go-ahead.
“But,” Sisulu continued, “there is a need for us in the South African context that we may be required to allow replenishment for those people who provide security onboard the ships. Now I do know that there is an ethical matter, on whether or not (civilian) ships (can) carry armed people.“

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