Slain Libyan leader 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, City Press reported on Sunday.
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, the newspaper said.
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".
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.
City Press said it had 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".
The South African government did not want to become involved, and it was not clear how the mercenaries would be taken out of Libya.
State Security Agency spokesperson Brian Dube said they did not wish to comment at this stage, City Press reported.