The security industry is one of the fastest growing industries in South Africa, keeping pace with the tourism sector and it is needed. The released crime statistics make for horrendously bad reading and do not need to be repeated here but if the same amount of murders should take place in a country with the population of America, you look at 117,000 plus murders a year in that place. Everyone of them is one too many, end of story, end of excuses. It is not normal, such statistics would lead to a public outcry and resignations from the politicians carrying the burden of responsibility via the offices they swore to uphold in other countries. Sadly, such honourable behaviour will never happen in South Africa and have never happened in the past either. Politicians just don’t care, make peace, he is only there for the money and status, not to work for the better of mankind. And it is not only that mass murders take place in South Africa, 18,000 a year if not more, one every 30 minutes, but the sheer amount of brutality and violence involved in the murders, hijackings, house invasions that make the violent crime unique in the world. Nowhere else in the world do we find the same violence except in war-ravaged countries and then not even. Then there is torture. It is virtually assured that torture from the burning of the victims’ flesh with hot irons to much worse will happen during any home invasion. Whatever you may imagine, rape included will happen and happens regularly, daily. As said, the statistics make for dreadful reading, but it is of no use to ignore a threat and hope for the best.
The legal system has failed and so did the South African Police Service for reasons discussed inside the book. You are on your own. Consequently, your security is in your hands and you must be preventative or fail. Most of the security and safety measures to be taken and advised in Safety Net are to be done long before any violent attack takes place, and nothing works in isolation, you need to many defensive layers and plan for the worst-case scenarios. We studied past criminal acts in this book, we look at how the criminals operate, and we advise how to counter them in the future as well as other threat which you may not even know about. Safety Net exposes which popular security measures are not effective as stated by the armed robbers themselves, and yet sold to the public by overeager salesmen. This is probably the most serious problem we have right now, a completely false sense of security. You are sold a basic alarm system coupled to an armed response team, the same in law as a cell phone contract, and think that you are safe... according to the robbers themselves you are not, they do not fear either an alarm nor armed response that much and they know how to overcome both. They fear CCTV if recording online, a dog inside the house and quite a few other measures that you can invest in but mostly it starts with training to be aware and to make life easier for the responders be it the police or armed response or medical. Something as simple as ensuring that your house is clearly marked by a street number may save your life. From my own police experience, I know how hard and frustrating it is to be unable to find the correct street address because the number is hidden behind a bush or just not there. Seconds count when you are bleeding, remember that, if you cannot be found, you cannot be rescued.
Safety Net deals with layered defensive systems and much more, also the JKLS System of self-defence perfected by the author. The JKLS System is proven to have saved souls across the globe and one that costs no money to implement, it is simple and thus highly effective. This book will change the way you look at your security for the better and not only in South Africa, whatever is said here will work anywhere else as well. Safety Net is based on personal as well as many years of police and criminal justice experience. A book that must be read by home and business owners anxious about the safety of their families and workers from violent criminal attack.
I never expected the reaction that I got on these books. When I started typing the first Mean Streets Book in 2012 I did so to leave a story behind, to tell the truth as I saw and experienced it. The time was right for me, I left the Police force 21 years previously, I learned and grow since then, and I could look back dispassionately or so I thought, I was wrong. The more I wrote the more I realised the lies, the untruths, half truths and the utter nonsense since then. The problem was that if something is not challenge, in law, it stands and so history is rewritten. Through the years, since Apartheid ended officially in 1994, a lot was written about the South African Police Force (SAP), the country’s National Police Force. Not all of the books were true to facts and many with a clear left-wing liberal political motive behind them. Many “anti” books were published, especially by the mainstream publishing houses and although they have a function and fulfilled a financial need, the Mean Streets Series is not like that. This is a story of a man, a junior officer that grew up in Apartheid South Africa and joined the Police at age 18 with the specific purpose to serve, to hunt criminals and terrorists and to kill them if needs be. He would go on to become an attorney at one of the most famous human rights law firms in Africa. A mesmerizing story. For those that were not members of the SAP between 1985 – 1991, and most were not, this is the closest you will ever get to see the world from the policemen’s viewpoint: “Makes the world of a policeman come to life. Brilliant expose of what it really feels like to have been part of the SAP during the years of apartheid. The author is painstakingly honest about his emotions and experiences during that time. A must read...” is one reviewer’s remarks. “Outstanding book, 1 of 3 on the SAP by this author... Genuine honest look from the inside by one who was there, did that, got the T-shirt and all the rest” said another. “These books provide an entertaining glimpse into not only the world of Law Enforcement but also into a department which has been under media attack for decades. Of course Apartheid was a terrible and racist system, and the police enforced those very laws, but the author does an excellent job in explaining the reasons behind this in a clear and concise manner. If you try to understand ANYTHING from the police point of view, the author's reasoning will answer some tough questions. The series is informative, funny, entertaining and a series I enjoyed reading...” wrote a former NYPD officer.
The various Mean Streets Books were read by many, criticized by some and loved by a lot more as an eyeopener to that closed world. The South African Police Force had almost nothing in common with a Sheriff's Department or the “Bobby on the Beat” – think Marines with police powers and you are closer to the truth. The highly-trained policemen were fighting terrorists as mechanized infantry besides dealing with “normal” crime in between. The statistics show that most of the terrorists were killed by the South African Police Force, not the Army, during South Africa’s Border War. 98% of all terrorists inside South Africa died by police bullets. The Police likewise had a decade more experience in counterinsurgency, learning their trade during the Rhodesian Bush War. Their daily duties involved dealing with vicious and brutal crime, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and full-scale riots, depending on where they were. The Mean Streets Book Series is a warning. The books will show you what happens when unscrupulous politicians gain control of a highly-disciplined Police Force and there is no “Bill of Human Rights” to stop them from implementing the country’s laws. No matter how unfair the laws may be or no matter what opposition is faced, these police officers will not turn a blind eye or walk away. They will react in kind every time and violently if provoked or not. They were feared with good reason - they were brutally effective and true to their traditions. Yet they also showed kindness and saved life at times. The Series is an account of the author's basic training and six-year career in the South African Police Force between 1985-1991, the years before Mr Nelson Mandela was released and the changes came. It is not merely a police biography but an intense look at how an honourable Police Force became an “Instrument of Terror” mostly because of politics way above the policemen’s pay grade. Funny, and insightful with much history and background explanations. Everyone that reads the Mean Streets Books take something away. At times you laugh, at times you cry, and sporadically you shake your head, absolutely worth reading according by most.
Terrorism is never static. It evolves all the time as one side tries to gain the upper hand over the other and in open conflict, where the terrorist makes a stand, he is usually annihilated by the Security Forces, it is never a good tactic unless the terrorism phase becomes a conventional phase but then it is not strictly speaking terrorism anymore. Terrorism also moves around the world. Without the religious or political changes or compromises that started the terrorism or the insurrection, depending, the war is never ending and may carry on for decades. This means that the counterterrorism operative should be able to operate in any environment where the terrorist is to be found, from the African bush to the Middle East to your own cities – that is the nature of the beast. In October 2017, Donald J Trump, 45th US President, said: ““We are decimating ISIS in the Middle East. What’s happening is, they’ll go to parts of Africa, they’ll go to other places. When they get there, we meet them. It’s a dangerous business. It’s a tough war. We’re beating ISIS very badly.”
The President’s statement came as no surprise to the author, a sub-Saharan Africa counterterrorism expert, that predicted that in 2013 already. The problem is that Africa has never been important to the West. I dedicated an entire chapter here on why the West is not getting the intelligence they need. It is the big unknown and yet, within Africa and the Middle East, you will find 80% of the radicals. The rest are hiding in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Wherever the War on Terror is being won, as Mr Trump noted, the threat moves away and mostly into Africa, the new battleground. The West will follow but don’t think for one moment that the fighting will be easy. Africa is like no other theatre in the world and the West in no way capable. Yet, the answers on how to conduct successful counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in Africa are available. You only have to read the fictionalised George M James Series of Books (www.georgemjames.com) and you will know more than any Western War College professor.
The enemy has the same problems as you, no advantage or disadvantage. The terrain is neutral, remember that - “The Jungle is Neutral” is a book written by Spencer Chapman, a man who fought behind enemy lines against the Japanese during World War Two. He did not achieve much except to show it could be done and that was probably his most important legacy, ending the war as a lieutenant colonel and awarded the coveted DSO on top of his Polar Medal. Chapman was one of those schoolmasters which only Pommies can produce, a decent education at Cambridge University and a sense of adventure second to none, from mountain climbing to polar expeditions to Special Forces in the War. His other claim to fame is that he once taught Prince Phillip, later to be married to the current Parasite and still around. When the British Special Air Service got themselves recreated during the Malayan Crisis with Rhodesian help, this book became the manual for all jungle operations, you can read it, it is available on Amazon. Essentially Colonel Chapman said that the theatre you operate in is the same for the enemy, the bastards too have to adapt and hence it is neutral, you can abuse it to suit you. We wholeheartedly included the concept of being able to work in the African bush better than anyone else, based on his philosophies. It was not that simple as it sounds though. Not everyone grew up on a farm in Africa, most had to learn the skills which means anyone can learn it with enough training. Being part of the veldt and listening to the signs is what we do. There is no logical reason why an American soldier, an outdoorsman and “Indian” fighter back in the day, will not be able to abuse any terrain as much as the enemy do and more. It is just proper training and outlook.
Numerous counterinsurgency wars took place in sub-Saharan Africa since the 1950s. The author, as part of the South African Police Force COIN Units in the 1980s touched this subject briefly in his autobiography, Mean Streets – Life in the Apartheid Police. What should be fascinating to the reader is how the terrorists and the Security Forces evolved through the years, countering each other. This book is a comparative study of the history of terrorism operations starting with the Kenya Uhuru. Then the Rhodesian Bush War and lastly the South African Border War as well as counterterrorism operations inside the country. All had highly successful outcomes for the Security Forces and all were lost at another level. Like the US Army in Vietnam, the wars would be lost at the negotiation table far away from the theatre. Yet, the lessons learned are still extremely valuable and appealing to the student of war. Particularly the chapter on why Western Intelligence Agencies are failing in sub-Saharan Africa is important – nothing has changed. Unless you know who to attack, you will, as is happening right now, kill 2 innocents for every terrorist that dies. That is bad for counterterrorism, extremely bad and creates more terrorists by the hour. Then, it is known that drones fail to hit their intended target 96.5% of the time, and it is that pathetic because of a lack of clear intelligence. Nor is it believed here that the US Army is good enough to train anyone in Africa, the knowledge is just not there and since Mogadishu, it is believed that the US Army will run for home as soon as the body bags arrive. That is Bill Clinton’s legacy on counterterrorism, he owns that perception, wrong as it is. Nevertheless, you need to know what you are doing, or you will die. To find out how you look at history, you see what worked and what did not work. In addition to the GMJ Books mentioned, this is a book that must be read as background before deployment takes place.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in hostage survival training and reducing legal risk in Sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters. Koos is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.