You know what is pathetic to me? Charities not taking care of their employees. There is seldom something as a “poor” charity operating proudly in many different countries...they are well funded and have lots of money to waste on fancy offices. It is a business and not a charity as you may understand the word. Hence you will not find me supporting them financially. Why should I? They have enough liberal idiots paying for their flamboyant offices and cars. It the same with my old university who is not ashamed to ask for donations from former students, why is that? I am not about to give to an institution which is in no way the same (in values or ranking) since I was a student eighteen years ago. I wrote them off a long time ago.
However, I always help missionaries and deserving charities for free and even here I found a disturbing tendency. The first question I am asked is why? They often accuse you by stating “Will you now tell the entire world on your website you helped us with hostage survival briefings?” It is a question which clearly shows to me that they did not even bother to read my website before asking me that. If they did they would have seen we never publish clients names and it is to my detriment not to do so. Why, because for some strange people the amount of “likes” on my Facebook page is important (why I would not know, it is part the marketing bullsh-t game of “Oh, so many like you and so then should I”). It is the same with a “portfolio” on your website. Many see the often faked trademarks of big corporates on a website and think, “Ah, so this is for real, see what they did for the lot across the street” and then they feel safe to do business with you. I would have thought the value you bring to a client is the decisive factor, not money or “likes.”
Now we don't publish clients names for security reasons. Imagine this, in almost every kidnapping case we found it was not a random act (there are random cases, for instance you are inside a bank where a robbery takes pace – it is dealt with in the briefing) and now your kidnappers check your website or mine (and they do) and see you underwent the briefing. Do you suppose they will now treat you with more severity making your survival so much harder? Yes, obviously, they researched you and they know you. Every time you tell you new girlfriend how brave your are in working in Africa you are in effect putting a nail in your own coffin. We have a lot to say about this aspect in the briefings. The point is, I don't ride on a charity's or client's back for cheap publicity by revealing your name on my website. I get nothing from helping the odd missionary or the charity for free. In fact it costs me tens of thousands as the briefing is expensive on purpose. I have no wish to have Mickey Mouse clients, what we do is just too serious for such nonsense and it is highly specialist law to which the law firms have not woken up to yet (they never will but the copy cats are busy).
It angers me when I read with boring regularity of another kidnapping taking place and it seems to me it is often connected to one particular charity and when you approach them to say “I can help you, just pay my costs to get to you” (extremely reasonable) you get the old “I will get back to you if I want to. Or the what is in it for you (the cheap publicity) and worse, oh we need monetary donations.” What I do not find is the humanitarian view to reward the loyal employees with the ability to survive. It is pathetic in my eyes.
I said before, in law, it is a time bomb waiting to explode...this utterly arrogance of sending men and women into harm's way and not equipping them for the worst case scenario which you know and ought to have known, is going to bring a public relations nightmare for many besides the legal costs when they family sues you. We look at two sides in the briefing, firstly for the employee to survive (there are many ways and tricks of the trade the average person cannot possibly know) and then for the corporate /charity to survive (they have no clue what to do, research showed less than 2% even think of the worst case scenario and when it happens, they run like headless chickens).
Hence my services are needed and sadly, my client base is not in South Africa where it is needed most. Why not? Arrogance, we think we know “Africa” and because we travelled a bit we are “experts.” You are not, Africa proper has almost nothing in common with South Africa which is, despite the moaning, a paradise in relation to the rest (mostly, not all, generally speaking). Conversely, overseas companies are the best for me, they pay in dollars and best, they listen and they don't have the arrogance I encounter here. They actually understand why they need the services and they get why I don't publish their names on my website. And they do not ask silly questions on “what is there in for you” when I offer to help them.
It is disturbing really, I wonder what is the modus operandi behind these charities and missionaries who actually do look a gifted horse in the mouth. They then wonder when I say, “look, I am busy and I don't have time for this...your window of opportunity is closed, bye bye and next time, you pay the full amount.” This is another strange thing we see – whenever you give away a free book you are told, “Ah, it cannot be good, why else for free but you know what, I am not willing to buy it either, it does not contain sex and fifty shades of filth (women abuse in my eyes).” You just cannot win. Why have we become so cynical these days?
Sometimes I wonder why I even bother trying to extent a helping hand to charities and the missionaries. I know the answer, the man and woman trying to feed their families, the employee who needs the job and even in a dangerous environment. The loyal one who does not realise that loyalty to unscrupulous bosses can kill. And the greatest irony? Yeah those very same bosses, they drive in a convoy of vehicles and with their fat asses in a B6 armoured Land Cruiser when they visit the “field workers” they send to the dangerous environment. That is how much they fear their fellow man or it clearly shows their cowardice. It is laughable, and then to expect his employee not to receive the needed survival briefing or to drive around in a normal (not armoured) car? You get that? I don't, I am tempted to look at them and shake my head in disgust and so should you.
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 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.