20 August 2023 in Dossier Laboratory South Africa, Home, Military


Thirty years after the end of apartheid, South Africa remains an immense open-air laboratory of what Africa could be and what, unfortunately, it still is. Certain choices made by Nelson Mandela in the name of the hope of integration have created undesirable and certainly unpredictable side effects.

A couple of examples: the Black Empowerment Act, which obliges large corporations to hand over shares to small local operators, instead of contributing to the welfare of tribal communities, has created a class of lawyers and trustees, most of them with links to organised crime, who have hoarded these shares. A second example: in order to make sense of Zulu traditions, the monarchy, especially in the years of the late King Zwelithini, became a kind of counterbalance to the South African state, whose laws it refused to accept, even though it enjoyed the economic benefits it guaranteed.

The effects are bleak: corruption and barbaric violence suppress any attempt at emancipation of the local tribes, the economy has slipped into a structural recession, and the only party with a political proposal has remained the Democratic Alliance – the party of whites, voted by one in four citizens, at least half of whom are black. Crime operates undisturbed, violence seems unstoppable. As in many other places, the areas where the state police are unable to guarantee security are ever more extensive. Large multinational corporations, which operate without abiding by rules of any kind and are therefore the object of hatred by the locals, must be defended as a fort in enemy territory.

That is why one of the fastest growing sectors is security: armed guards defending a perimeter, no matter by what means. But even this is no longer enough: today, whole armies are hired out who, like medieval captains of fortune, wage war in the name and on behalf of a client – and are distinguished by their efficiency and ferocity. If, until the end of the 20th century, these were private clients, the new century brings a terrible novelty in this field: now it is entire nation states that fight wars with mercenaries, with enormous economic and social costs: mercenaries do not only behave like ferocious murderers on the battlefield, but also in their private dealings with the citizens they fight for.

This is because the school for becoming a mercenary is war itself. Its troops are soldiers who, at the end of a conflict, do not know what else to do. It sometimes happens that, in mercenary troops, soldiers coexist who, until recently, had fought bitterly against each other. As in the case of Omega Risk Solutions, which brings together blacks and whites who, in the apartheid years, had murdered each other[1] , fighting everywhere: in India[2] , in North Korea[3] , in Australia, in Europe, in the United Kingdom and in the United States[4] .

Sandile Majali, the controversial man from Omega Risk Solutions[5]

Omega Risk Solution was born in 2003 from the idea of former South African National Defence Force (SANDF) colonel Alexander De Witt[6] , and owes its initial development to Sandile Majali, a controversial South African businessman and owner of Imvume Resources, which, in the years following the Iraq war, was involved in a number of investigations into Iraqi oil smuggling[7] . Luckily for him, the investigation, after discovering that Imvume acts as an intermediary for the smuggled oil, also discovered that the big money was being cashed in by other larger traders, such as Glencore and Trafigura, and in the end it was these who paid a hefty fine and made the scandal go away[8] . As for Imvume Resources, upon Majali’s death he left a very rich estate, over whose ownership the South African courts are now litigating[9] .

Majali, after having been introduced to Alexander De Witt in 2004[10] , decided to invest in the group, setting up several subsidiaries administered by Omega Business Trust, which, in those years, was involved in several joint ventures, such as the one in Namibia and Mozambique with Quatro Holdings[11] . The two men had a stormy personal and professional relationship, which was resolved by the courts[12] . Quatro, which started with cleaning services in large administrative offices and private companies, moved into economic counter-espionage and bodyguard services[13] . Quatro is a company with the majority of its employees and middle management being black, it presents itself as a new player in the market, and De Witt is the right man to move the apartheid secret police and prison police cadres to the new South Africa without creating a fuss[14] .

A charismatic figure is chosen to lead the new group – also with a cumbersome past: Faan Du Toit – former senior officer in the SANDF and former head of the secret service during apartheid[15] , who was named businessman of the year in Pretoria in 1999[16] . Majali is forced to leave the stage and act from behind the scenes[17] because of the consequences of a new investigation into Iraqi oil[18] . In October 2010, Majali was arrested for his dealings with Kalahari Resources[19] : he, together with seven other people, defrauded the real owners of the company, substituting them in public deeds[20] . He was released on bail a few days later[21] .

In November of the same year, Majali is suspected of having bribed Tshwane city officials to award Omega Risk Solutions a 122 million Rand tender for a CCTV system[22] . On 26 December, not even a month later, Majali is found dead in a hotel in the capital[23] : some people raise the possibility of suicide, but his lawyer considers it ‘highly unlikely’[24] . The suspicious circumstances of his death prompted his family, convinced that Majali had been threatened, to appoint an independent pathologist to perform an autopsy on his body[25] . To date, there is no news on the outcome of the autopsy investigation, either by the authorities or by the family: his death remains a mystery.

Omega Risk Solution headquarters in South Africa[26]

In 2011 his name appears in a new oil trading scandal[27] , a corruption case in which the oil company Imvume Holdings is accused of having received 18 million rand from the state oil company PetroSA for a smuggling operation to bring into the ANC’s coffers money to finance the election campaign[28] . Majali admits: in a letter written in his own hand, on 15 November 2010, shortly before his death, he explains the details of his funding of the party, adds that in total he ‘personally paid and facilitated more than 45 million rand to the ANC between 1999 and 2006’ and claims this activity as his right[29] . On his death, 18 January 2011, the investigation was closed[30] .

The magistrates’ work brings to light a strong friendship between Majali and former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe. Accompanied by senior ANC officials, the two often travelled together to Baghdad to strengthen political and trade relations between Iraq and South Africa[31] . It is these personal relationships that, in the 1990s, give Majali the opportunity to found Imvume and start making money from trading Iraqi oil[32] . On trips to Iraq, Majali used to present himself as an ‘advisor to the ANC and President Mbeki’, as in December 2000: for each Imvume deal, Majali paid several political personalities in South Africa and Iraq[33] , such as Saddam Hussein’s prime minister, Tareq Aziz[34] .

Investigations launched by the CIA, concluded in 2005, identified 4500 companies supplying bribes to Saddam Hussein in exchange for commercial contracts: this was the beginning of the ‘Oil for Food’ scandal, in violation of the programme of the same name activated by the United Nations in 1996, which allowed Baghdad to exchange its oil only for agri-food products[35] . According to the CIA[36] , Majali also pays a fixed fee to the ANC’s Business Council for Economic Transaction for 10 long years[37] . But the heavy accusations do not dampen Majali’s appreciation of the South African government: in 2007, the Department of Foreign Affairs listed Omega Risk as one of the favourite and also the highest paid agencies: almost one and a half million Rand per year[38] .

He did well: conscious of the fact that oil operations would sooner or later end[39] , he invested what he earned in 55% of Omega Risk[40] , taking over the security operations in Iraq of Kellog Brown & Root Services, an American company that in 2022 is forced to pay a $15 million fine for fraud charges related to its activities on Iraqi soil[41] . This new venture, in spite of problems with the judiciary, immediately gives a glimpse of new great spaces for expansion, not least because it involves those white South Africans with an unconfessable past and gives them a way to find coexistence with the new post-apartheid power.

When Majali died, thousands of people attended his funeral, including the ANC leadership[42] : a clear sign of gratitude for how this man had contributed[43] , even paying the rent of Kgalema Motlanthe’s luxurious villa[44] . Only a few pacifist activists raise the question of the possible assassination, which remains unsolved, of a man who held, at the same time, the torturers of apartheid, the covert financing of the ANC, international business with the Middle East and a private militia to be employed at home and abroad[45] . The family – overwhelmed by legal disputes over his legacy[46] – tells of a persecuted, inconvenient and too independent man[47] . His own letters addressed to the ANC, made public after his death, show a Majali disappointed with the government for the confiscations he had suffered: he realises his power is waning, he feels ‘left out in the cold’, by the state, he threatens to reveal scandals even more serious than those that have already come to light[48] .

The scheme of companies officially belonging to the Omega Risk group until 2014[49]

The group, even after his death, continues to grow[50] . Just a few more recent examples: on 8 March 2021, a joint venture agreement was signed between Connuity Global Solutions (CGS) and Omega Risk Solutions Angola to provide bodyguards for the Bureau of Diplomac Security (DS) of the US Department of State in Angola; on 15 January 2022, it began providing security services for several oil companies in Cabinda and the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Luanda[51] .

Sometimes, Omega’s mercenaries get into trouble: in 2006, 16 employees of the Omega Risk Solutions group were arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo on charges of planning a coup d’état[52] . Christoffel Roelofse, Head of Operations at Omega[53] , a member of the founders’ close circle, claims to have South African and American men from Iraq on his staff to assist an American company providing security services to Oscar Kashala, a Congolese candidate, in those very general elections[54] . This is not the only assignment there: its agents train transport personnel and also guard oil wells, ports, other high officials and banks[55] . It is normal, since they guarantee the security of so many politicians and institutions, that someone gets the idea that this is going too far.

Bad company

Omega Risk Solutions’ operational locations[56]

Colonel Alexander De Witt is the initial partner with whom Majali founded Omega Risk Solutions and several other local companies: with Arkhê Risk Solutions, for instance (involved in human rights violation scandals[57] ), he signed a contract with Gemfields[58] . In their spare time, they combat artisanal gem seekers by managing the illegal trade in precious stones[59] . The holding company is registered in the tax haven of the island of Niue by Majali, De Witt, and a number of apartheid front men: Faan Du Toit, Christoffel Roelofse, Stephanus De Witt, Stephanus Du Toit, Jacubus De Kock and André Diedericks[60] .

A further suspicion arises: that Majali worked for the secret police of the old regime and that his links with the secret services originated at that time, since Majali had already formed cleaning and security cooperatives, especially in the construction sector, at the time of apartheid[61] . When De Witt, after Majali’s death, was arrested for investigating Iraqi oil[62] , his lawyers and bail were paid by Omega Risk, which had nothing to do with that scandal, in which Imwume Resources was instead involved. .[63]

Omega Risk does not care about ‘political correctness’. The joint venture registered in Lusaka, for instance, is associated with MKP Malaysia Korea Partners[64] , a group operating in both industry, finance and trade[65] , owned by the North Korean government[66] . The chairman of the board of directors of the joint venture in Zambia is Han Hun-Il (aka Edward Han), a mercenary who served in North Korean missions in Africa[67] .Judiciary investigations indicate that Omega Risk-MKP has repeatedly paid funds to the government of North Korea[68] , and has financed the production of weapons and nuclear activities in Malaysia, also linked to the government of Pyeongyang[69] .

An odd fact: Omega Risk-MKP’s main customer is the United Nations Military Forces Headquarters in Southern Africa. Since as far back as 1984, it has been forbidden for UN member states to enter into contracts with North Korea for ‘technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the supply, manufacture, maintenance or use of weapons and related material’[70] .

Not surprisingly, Omega Risk Solutions, unlike (for example) the Wagner Group, does not implement strategies decided by a national government. On the contrary, although it has the size of a real army, it has individual companies or, even worse, individual politicians as clients. It is easier to see them organising a coup d’état or carrying out contract killings than participating in the defence of a public event or a building of public interest. As for the fact that the leadership cadres are made up of old glories of apartheid and the ANC, this is yet another demonstration of George Orwell’s theorem: when the time comes for the celebration of success, one no longer distinguishes between men and pigs.


[1] https://www.omegasol.com/

[2] https://www.orsrsa.omegasol.com/contact-us/

[3] https://www.piie.com/blogs/north-korea-witness-transformation/sanctions-ngos-and-whack-mole

[4] https://rocketreach.co/omega-risk-solutions-profile_b5c42244f42e0de6

[5] https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/battle-for-majalis-millions-rages-on-1703758

[6] https://www.eccourts.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/43-BVIHCM2015.0037-CH-Trustees-SA-v-Omega-Services-Group-Limited-et-al-22.11.2016.pdf

[7] https://mg.co.za/article/2002-04-05-south-africaniraq-oil-deal-shrouded-in-controversy/ ; “South Africa: probe Iraq oil urges DA”, Africa News, 7 April 2002; “South Africa;
Pretoria, Iraq Oil Deal Shrouded in Controversy”, Africa News, 5 April 2002; “Empowerment Oil Firm Wins R1bn SFF Tender”, Africa News, 5 April 2002

[8] “South Africa: Trafigura settles”, Energy Compass, 20 February 2003

[9] https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2011-10-26-liquidators-at-loggerheads-over-majalis-estate/

[10] https://www.news24.com/citypress/SouthAfrica/News/Majalis-final-fraud-20110102 ; Sandi Majali on Nexis. ‘Oligate’s Majali linked to alleged DRG group plot’.

[11] https://www.orsnam.omegasol.com/

[12] https://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZASCA/2017/171media.pdf

[13] https://quatro.co.za/

[14] https://quatro.co.za/about-us/

[15] https://mg.co.za/article/1994-02-04-mi-links-to-gunrunning/ ; Seamus Martin, ‘Trouble brews behind picturesque streets’, The Irish Times, 15 February 1994

[16] https://www.omegasol.com/about-us/

[17] https://quatro.co.za/about-us/

[18] https://www.gov.za/l-mushwana-service-delivery-media-briefing

[19] https://www.kalahariresources.co.za/

[20] https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2010-10-21-majali-arrested-for-kalahari-corporate-hijacking/ ; https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2010-10-23-sandile-majali-released-on-bail/

[21] https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/majali-funeral-a-peaceful-affair-1009749

[22] https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2010-11-22-city-tender-deemed-dodgy-by-auditors/

[23] https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/sandile-majali-found-dead-report-1005250

[24] https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2010-12-28-majali-suicide-unlikely/

[25] https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2010-12-28-majali-suicide-unlikely/

[26] https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063737101584

[27] https://www.gov.za/l-mushwana-service-delivery-media-briefing

[28] https://www.gov.za/l-mushwana-service-delivery-media-briefing

[29] https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2011-09-18-majalis-ghost-haunts-anc/

[30] https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2011-01-18-court-drops-fraud-charges-against-majali/

[31] https://mg.co.za/article/2011-12-07-donen-report-leaves-oilgate-players-in-the-clear/

[32] https://mg.co.za/article/2011-10-21-the-oil-for-food-scandal-so-far/

[33] https://mg.co.za/article/2011-10-21-the-oil-for-food-scandal-so-far/

[34] https://mg.co.za/article/2011-10-21-the-oil-for-food-scandal-so-far/

[35] https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/iraq-oil-food-scandal#chapter-title-0-7

[36] https://mg.co.za/article/2011-10-21-the-oil-for-food-scandal-so-far/

[37] https://www.energyintel.com/0000017b-a7a8-de4c-a17b-e7ea7de10000

[38] https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2011-02-17-r122m-tender-row/

[39] Sandile Majali on Nexis. Oligate’s Majali linked to alleged

[40] https://www.omegasol.com/past-proven-performance/

[41] https://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2022/06/16/kbr-settles-iraq-fraud-lawsuit-for-14m/

[42] https://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/former-mp-navy-chief-among-malaysians-who-had-stakes-north-korean-firm-report

[43] https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2011-01-10-majali-paid-anc-salaries/

[44] https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2011-09-18-majalis-ghost-haunts-anc/


[46] https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/battle-for-majalis-millions-rages-on-1703758

[47] https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2011-09-18-majalis-ghost-haunts-anc/

[48] https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2011-09-18-majalis-ghost-haunts-anc/

[49] https://www.slideserve.com/xenia/structure-5604022

[50] https://www.facebook.com/WiseWBRS

[51] https://www.omegasol.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Integritas-Issue-Sep-22-2.pdf

[52] South Africa: Congo ‘Coup’ Furore Ensnares SA Firm – allAfrica.com

[53] https://www.omegasol.com/about-us/

[54] https://www.voanews.com/a/a-13-2006-05-24-voa36/312683.html

[55] https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2011-02-17-r122m-tender-row/

[56] https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=688305946325366&set=pcb.688306379658656

[57] https://www.rivistaitalianadigemmologia.com/en/2019/01/08/will-they-be-named-blood-rubies-the-complex-settlement-of-gemfields-opens-new-implications-of-social-responsibility/

[58] https://www.rivistaitalianadigemmologia.com/2019/01/08/li-chiameranno-blood-rubies-il-complicato-insediamento-di-gemfields-riapre-la-questione-della-responsabilita-sociale/ ; https://www.glistatigenerali.com/africa/i-rubini-sporchi-e-italiani-del-mozambico/

[59] https://mg.co.za/article/1990-03-16-00-renamos-secret-sa-bases/

[60] https://www.eccourts.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/43-BVIHCM2015.0037-CH-Trustees-SA-v-Omega-Services-Group-Limited-et-al-22.11.2016.pdf

[61] Omega Risk Solutions on Nexis. Alex De Witt; zoom people informations.

[62] https://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZASCA/2017/171.pdf

[63]Sandile Majali on Nexis. It’s D-Day for Omega’s bid. SOWETAN the soul truth.

[64] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-malaysia-business-idUSKBN17C0AN ; https://pyongyangpapers.com/entity/malaysia-korea-partners/

[65] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-malaysia-business-idUSKBN17C0AN ; https://pyongyangpapers.com/entity/malaysia-korea-partners/

[66] https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1203274/on-guard-north-korean-private-security-and-the-un/

[67] https://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/former-mp-navy-chief-among-malaysians-who-had-stakes-north-korean-firm-report

[68] https://www.theborneopost.com/2017/04/12/malaysian-minister-urges-probe-of-fund-transfers-to-n-korea/?amp

[69] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-malaysia-business-idUSKBN17C0AN

[70] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/it/policies/sanctions/history-north-korea/

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