SA mercenaries 'were misled'

2011-10-30 12:15
Tripoli - Colonel Muammar Gaddafi probably really thought he was going to “live in a tent in the Karoo”, but South African mercenaries actually helped him from the frying pan into the fire.

Speaking to one of the South African operators who was at Gaddafi’s side and a senior source in the intelligence world, City Press discovered the mercenaries were probably also misled into thinking they were helping Gaddafi.

Their involvement was really only part of a larger plan to capture Gaddafi, it now appears.

A few of them are still in Libya after they were approached by a security company in August to assist in moving Gaddafi out of his hometown of Sirte and “bring him to South Africa”.

The recruiting was done by Sarah Penfold, a well-known name in the industry based in Kenya, who apparently acted on behalf of a company in London.

South Africa’s State Security Agency is aware of her visit to Johannesburg on August 17, and she is being investigated.


Gaddafi himself apparently requested assistance from the private security industry.

Subsequently, negotiations were held in which he allegedly made demands concerning his planned stay in South Africa.

One of the operators, Danie Odendaal, told City Press that in his correspondence Gaddafi insisted he be accommodated in a tent in a hot region – preferably desert-like.

He said they still speculated that the only suitable place in South Africa would be the Karoo.

After being issued with false passports, three groups of South Africans flew to Dubai and Cairo, from where they hurriedly flew to Libya to assist Gaddafi.

But things turned into a “disgusting, disgusting orgy” when Nato forces fired on Gaddafi’s convoy before transitional government soldiers captured and executed him.

Abortive project

Afterwards, the details and the incredible “coincidence” of the abortive project started unfolding.

City Press has discovered there was no request to the South African authorities to bring Gaddafi, a fugitive from the International Criminal Court, here.

It would never have been allowed, a reliable government source said.

Intelligence sources believe there were agents among the mercenaries, or in some of the security companies, who were spying for the transitional government and reporting on the mercenaries’ movements.

Nato launched its attack on Gaddafi with deadly precision, and Odendaal believes someone “sold them out”.

There is another group of South Africans in Libya, but City Press has learned they are not under arrest. They come and go as they like, and some live in hotels.

No one wants to comment

Former police commissioner George Fivaz said he received a call from a man in London last week who wanted to hire a 50-seat air ambulance to fetch people in Libya. Fivaz told him he couldn’t help him.

City Press telephoned a security company in London for comment about allegations they had contracted the South Africans through Penfold.

Initially, an employee immediately ended the call. Another employee, who only identified himself as “Harry”, at first said they didn’t have any operations in Libya.

Later he said “no one will comment about this”.

Despite many telephone calls, Penfold couldn’t be reached for comment.

The South African government doesn’t want to become involved, and it’s not clear how the mercenaries will be taken out of Libya.

State Security Agency spokesperson Brian Dube said they didn’t wish to comment at this stage.\

On 30 October City Press published a report entitled “SA Mercenaries were misled”.  The report referred to allegations that the London based Hart Security had contracted South African mercenaries through an intermediary to render certain services in Libya. The reference to Hart Security in the report was published in error. City Press regrets the error and retracts the allegation.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa  |  libya protests
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Argentina overpower spirited Tonga
LIVE: Ireland v Italy
As it happened: Tonga 16-45 Argentina
Betham: Future is out of my hands
Traffic Alerts

Spontaneity is the order of the day. Let go and have some fun. Try not to set too many set plans and expectations and enjoy more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.