Don’t avoid risk. Manage it with HEAT


As economies continue to grow, more businesses are looking to expand operations to emerging African markets. With new markets come new and often greater security risks – especially the risk of kidnapping of business people for ransom. Foreign business activities in these markets attract the unwelcome attention of Jihadist militant organisations such as Boko-Haram in Nigeria and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) – a foreign designated terrorist organization operating in the Sahara and Sahel. Their main aim is to exhort money from employers to raise funds for arms or political gain.

Kidnapping patterns in Africa have revealed that employees from international companies are the most at risk of being kidnapped for ransom because of the perceived wealth of the company they work for. In 2016 alone, 15 000 to 2 000 kidnapping for ransom incidents were reported on the African continent. Because of the sensitive nature of these crimes, it is assumed a large percentage of kidnappings go unreported.


If your employees are travelling or doing business in Africa, the risk of being kidnapped for ransom is real and it is high. The consequences can be devastating for all parties involved. You need to reduce that risk as much as possible.

Companies need to develop a cohesive and comprehensive strategy to eliminate and mitigate such risks to ensure your employees’ safety. It is crucial that your employees know how to act to minimize the risk when travelling to volatile African countries and how to respond in case they are kidnapped.


The King IV Report stipulates, Duty of Care is a responsibility that organisation’s directors and officers have when making decisions about their employees. The legal concept of Duty of Care implies that employers have a moral, as well as legal responsibility and obligation for the security and safety of their employees.

Breaching Duty of Care can give rise to legal action, alleging negligence. Such an action can result in a criminal prosecution for the company and the CEO personally.

Courts take Duty of Care seriously. There are severe financial implications if a kidnapping for ransom incident takes place and Duty of Care cannot be proven in a court of law. Companies need to demonstrate that it has taken pertinent steps to eliminate or mitigate such risks and prepare employees for the risks they are facing.


Assurances of safety, security and training of your personnel is the single most important Duty of Care for governments, companies and organisations worldwide.

One of the most effective means by which an organization can demonstrate their commitment to Duty of Care, is to ensure that all staff are suitably trained and mentally and emotionally prepared to operate in a hostile environment. Bear in mind that any peaceful environment can degenerate into a hostile situation, at short notice with minimal warning.

It is therefore crucial for employers to ensure that their personnel can operate safely and securely in any hostile environment.

The HEAT Course is an international renowned course which teaches employees the basic skills required to reduce the likelihood of being taken hostage in a hostile environment. Whether you are sending your staff to dangerous or, hostile areas or they require rural survival and or tactical experience, we provide the best trainers the industry has to offer.

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