Posts Tagged South Africa

Company Spotlight: Paramount Group Talks About Security In Africa

Below I have posted a couple of interesting stories about Paramount Group and it’s background. As you can see from it’s Wikipedia page, it is heavily involved with a lot of areas of defense in Africa and they are the largest PMSC in Africa. So when Ivor Ichikowitz (the founder and executive chairperson of the company) talks about private security in Africa, I tend to listen.

I also posted a side deal about an aircraft they donated to help in the war against Rhino poachers. This is a great move by the company because poachers are destroying one of Africa’s top treasures–it’s animals. They also had a vehicle showcased in the popular TV show called Top Gear.

The last article I posted below was not about Paramount Group specifically, but about private security in Africa in general. It talked about the focus of other large companies like G4S in Africa, and it is a great compare and contrast article after reading what Paramount mentioned. If companies want to know what to focus on when delving into this market, it pays to study the market leaders of this continent. Check it out. –Matt



From the website

Paramount Group is the largest privately owned defence and aerospace business in Africa, providing fully integrated turnkey solutions to global defence, peacekeeping and internal security forces.
Since its inception in 1994, Paramount has built strong relationships with governments and government agencies in over 30 countries around the world, earning an enviable reputation as a trusted advisor in the industry.
The Group is a leading innovator in the design and development of state-of-the-art products that it manufactures in locations throughout the world.  It is partnered with some of the world’s largest and most reputable organisations in the global defence community. The Paramount Group has the ability to understand its client requirements and to use its unique knowledge and experience to design cost-effective, future-proof solutions. As a result, Paramount has enjoyed strong growth and achieved an excellent track record of delivering successful projects.

From Wikipedia
Paramount Group is a group of companies operating in the global defence, internal security and peacekeeping industries. It was founded in South Africa in 1994 and offers a range of armoured vehicles, military aircraft, equipment and training to governments.
The company was founded by South African entrepreneur and industrialist Ivor Ichikowitz. The Group is based in South Africa, with its headquarters near Johannesburg.
Paramount Group manufactures a range of armoured vehicles – the Maverick, Mbombe, Matador and Marauder – and in 2011 unveiled AHRLAC, a long-range reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft. AHRLAC is the first aircraft to be designed and built from scratch in Africa.
The business has government clients in 28 countries and partnerships with leading international defence and aerospace players, including Aerosud Holdings Ltd, its partner in the development of AHRLAC (Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft).
In February 2011, Paramount Group announced a joint venture with Abu Dhabi – based defence business International Golden Group to market and distribute Paramount Group’s products and services in the United Arab Emirates.
Paramount Group’s Marauder featured in an episode of the BBC’s Top Gear programme. Television show presenter Richard Hammond took the vehicle on a test drive in South Africa to put the vehicle through its paces in comparison to a Humvee in a bid to find ‘the world’s toughest car.’ The programme was broadcast in July 2011.
AHRLAC was launched in September 2011 and described by commentators, including the Wall Street Journal, as filling a niche for a versatile, low-cost aircraft.


Security Is Key To Africa’s Economic Rise
By Ivor Ichikowitz, chairman of Paramount Group, Africa’s biggest private defence company.
Ivor Ichikowitz reports
22 November 2012
The most important single factor in boosting an emerging economy is a stable state. I believe that all things flow from this.
Capitalism is the most powerful driving force behind Africa’s economic development but businesses must be able to be run without the fear of suddenly losing all their assets in unexpected or undemocratic changes in government.
Criminals, terrorists and rebel groups further undermine economic activity across the continent and need to be effectively countered. It has been estimated, for example, that over 10% of Nigeria’s oil production is stolen between source and sale by criminal gangs, including groups who tap directly into long pipelines that are extremely vulnerable to theft in isolated areas.

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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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Somalia: South African Contractor Killed In Puntland

Rest in peace to the fallen and my heart goes out to the friends and family of Lodewyk Pietersen. As to the particulars of this incident, the article states that he was killed by his bodyguard after an argument. A Somali version of a green and blue incident, and these type of incidents are not exclusive to Afghanistan.

I thought it was interesting that reports mentioned that these contractors might be going out on missions with the PMPF. Here is a quote from Garowe online. (on a side note, if the PMPF is doing land operations, then why are they wearing bright blue uniforms?-camouflage anyone? lol)

Although reports are still unclear instructor Pietersen accompanied the PMPF in the operation and was killed shortly after entering Hul-Anod district.
Puntland forces have encountered resistance in Hul-Anod before in March 2011 pirates holding a Danish family hostage attacked Puntland forces that were stationed in the district, 5 soldiers were killed.
The Puntland government approved Friday’s operation by the PMPF and it is unclear what exactly occurred in Hul-Anod Friday afternoon but Puntland authorities have already set up an investigation into the killing of Mr. Pietersen.

And the report below said.

The statement said the trainer was killed while accompanying Puntland’s maritime forces on a government-approved mission targeting pirates near Hul-Anod, a coastal area favored by pirates who use it as a base to hijack ships for ransom.

So perhaps Saracen Int. are accompanying these guys on missions and it would make sense. Contractor mentors have been used in other wars, like in Afghanistan with the Afghan Border Patrol mission. Mentors can watch how these guys do business, and help correct training deficiencies and assist in management efforts so future missions have higher success rates.

Hopefully Puntland or Saracen will do some vetting of all of their bodyguards contracted to protect trainers, and make sure that they have folks that they can trust. If they catch the killer, we will see what this guy was all about. Was he mentally ill or an enemy combatant of some type? Perhaps the killer was sympathetic to the pirates, or working for the pirates in Hul-Anod? –Matt

Edit: 04/28/2012- I was given a heads up in an email about a few corrections. Somalia Report is reporting this bit of information, and it sounds like Lodewyk had a full blown mutiny on his hands, and not some rogue body guard. Here is a quote from the website below. Also, I was told that this was not a Saracen International contractor, but some other company that took over when their contract was suspended.

The South African national was monitoring a troop of Somali anti-piracy police ordered into Timirishe village in a move against pirates of the ali Salabeen clan.  When ordered to proceed with the mission, the troops began firing their guns into the air and into the ground, apparently in an effort to warn the pirates.
Sources at the scene told Somalia Report that the mentor then approached the group to encourage them forward and was shot and killed. There is still confusion over the exact motive and exactly who the killers were. PMPF sources told Somalia Report that an investigation is underway.

Edit: 04/29/2012 The name of the company was Sterling Corporate services. Here is a quote from Lloyds back in February of this year.

It is understood that the force currently stands at around 300 officers and  more will be added in time, with UAE-registered private security firm named Sterling Corporate Services having been retained to train the troops

Puntland Maritime Police Force(PMPF)Photo-Garowe Online


South African security trainer killed in Somalia
April 28, 2012
A South African security trainer was killed by his bodyguard in Somalia’s semiautonomous region of Puntland, officials said Saturday.
Puntland’s government said in a statement Saturday that it had launched an investigation into Friday’s killing. The statement identified the man as Lodewyk Pietersen, and said he worked for Saracen International, a security firm that trains anti-piracy forces in Puntland. The statement said the South African was 55 and married with children.
South African foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said Saturday no official word has been received from consular staff handling South African interests in Somalia.
“We have not yet been alerted to such an incident,” he said.

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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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