In this episode, I’m talking with retired Major General Johan Jooste. General Jooste spent 35 years in the South African National Defence Force as an infantry officer, a war veteran of Southern African campaigns, and finally exiting the military as the Deputy Chief of the Army. His second career was 5 years as the Director of International Business Development for BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa, a South African defence company. The General’s third career started in 2013 and includes the roles of Officer Commanding Special Projects at Kruger, Officer Commanding Special Projects at SANParks, Law Enforcement and Security Program Manager at Peace Parks Foundation, and Law Enforcement and Security Program Manager seconded to the National Department.
In this conversation, we talk about General Jooste’s past experience in the military and how he ended up leading the para-militarization of the ranger corps at Kruger National Park. We dive into the many challenges he faced, his method for securing the park from the outside in, the risks the rangers must take to protect the rhinos from poaching syndicates, and why he decided to write his new book titled, Rhino War. The General wants to make it clear that all of his answers are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the organizations he works for. There are many great stories and lessons in this one, along with the harsh realities of poaching crisis.