Opposite Johannes Botha’s desk is a stretcher, which gives the office the distinct air of a doctor’s clinic. Although he is no doctor, he has years of experience treating a wide range of health issues, from diseases and stress, to victims of war - even delivering babies.
He has worked all over the world in a diverse array of areas, including the Antarctic, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
What attracted you to this line of work?
I joined the military when I was 18 years old and at some point they sent me to a basic medical course and this opened my eyes to my true calling. I find protecting and sometimes even saving lives an immensely rewarding experience. Since then I have done para-medicine, and specialised in aviation, diving, remote and wilderness, offshore, and combat medicine, as well as canine emergency care and instructor ratings, in numerous other disciplines, related to emergency medicine.
What are the similarities between being a Security and Medical Advisor in Maersk Oil and a Security Officer in Afghanistan?
Within the wide span of experience and the diversity of locations I have worked in, I have found that it is always a matter of treating others as human to human. It goes from the greeting of each other, to the respect and friendliness towards one another.
I make a point of seeing all of my colleagues in Maersk Oil and Maersk Drilling every day. I walk the floors. I can see in the flicker of an eye, if someone needs to talk and I am always there to listen, and if they want it, to treat them as well. The treatment is not always necessary. Sometimes being listened to is enough.
If someone were in need today, I follow up tomorrow and the week after. I want to make sure that people are safe and well around here.
What is it that saves lives?
It is the basics that save lives. Stop-breathe-think-act! That stops the panic and calms down the nervous system.
I think of myself as a tool - I must make the situation better for the person in pain. Sometimes I do it by talking to them, other times by holding a hand and sometimes it is a needle with the correct medicine. Whatever works to stabilise the person, then we have come far.
How do you find working in Maersk Oil Angola?
My OHS Medical and Security position in Maersk Oil Angola is a welcome return to a context where people don’t want to kill me. I am here to keep people safe. People know that - even if the children are scared of me at first.