Harry Johannes Knoesen, 61, and two others have been charged with allegedly plotting terrorist attacks on the government and people he described as "dark rubbish".
Knoesen allegedly called for troops to join his National Christian Resistance Movement, also known as the Crusaders.
In its provisional indictment, the State alleges that had he not been arrested, these activities could have been perpetrated with an array of weapons.
A former pastor and soldier from Mpumalanga – arrested for allegedly plotting to rid South Africa of "dark rubbish" – appeared in the Middelburg Regional Court in Mpumalanga on charges of terrorism and high treason for allegedly trying to plot the murders of black people and immigrants, and to overthrow the government.
Harry Johannes Knoesen appeared with Eric Abrams and Errol Abrams in court on Friday.
They were arrested after he posted videos and allegedly held meetings to carry out his plan under the banner of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM), also known as the Crusaders, which he heads.
Charges were withdrawn against a fourth accused Riana Heymans, who was allegedly "radicalised".
They will return to court on 22 October when the case will proceed.
Knoesen allegedly recruited and discussed his plans with members unhappy with the government, moving between WhatsApp, Facebook and a platform called Telegram and then moving to in-person meetings.
Police stations were also allegedly in his sights as he obtained maps and documents to plot out a strategy to carry out a coup d’état and overthrow the government.
At one point, he told someone who used to be in the security forces who he asked to help get weapons, that everything was ready, and ordered radio silence as they "went underground".
He decided to postpone the attack to get more members, but the investigators moved in and arrested him on 28 November 2019.
However, by then Heymans and two others were "so radicalised" that they decided to nevertheless carry out an attack on 29 November 2019 at midnight. They were arrested before their planned attack. Components and ingredients for the manufacture of pipe bombs were seized, as well as unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
When he was arrested, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the alleged intended targets included national key points, malls and informal settlements. A further search of a property in the Eastern Cape, yielded explosives, a firearm and ammunition.
"The accused unlawfully and intentionally planned or prepared to engage in terrorist activity in South Africa," the provisional indictment read.
This would have allegedly included:
the systematic, repeated or arbitrary use of violence by any means or method;
endangering the life, or violating the physical integrity or physical freedom of, or causing serious bodily injury to or the death of a person or people;
causing destruction to or substantial damage to property; and
creating a "serious public emergency situation or a general insurrection in the Republic [of South Africa]".
The National Prosecuting Authority alleges that this would have involved the use of firearms, assault rifles, hand grenades, rocket launchers and explosive devices, with attacks targeting people and institutions in South Africa, as well as certain sectors of émigré community.
"The South African and émigré African communities were in this regard labelled as ‘these murderers and rapists and torturers and these dark rubbish of the earth’ and it was intended that ‘many thousands’ of them be killed," the indictment read.
He faces charges of the contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act for allegedly preparing and planning to carry out attacks on government institutions and the African population in South Africa and to overthrow the South African government.
According to the provisional indictment, on the weekend of 16 and 17 November 2019 he held a meeting at the Sterkfontein Dam near Harrismith with select members known as "Top Guardians", allegedly to plan an attack for Black Friday on 29 November 2019.
He is alleged to have posted a video clip on 16 November 2019 claiming that the organisation was close to "hitting and governing this country" and calling on members of the public to take up arms and open fire on black people "to bring their numbers down".
He also claims in a video clip, where he is dressed in a brown uniform, that everything had already started.
According to the indictment, before the weekend of 23 and 24 November he also contacted a former member of a security force not named in the indictment to get weapons and ammunition.
This included AK47 assault rifles, hand grenades and rocket launchers.
He is also alleged to have acquired an unlicensed Browning pistol and ammunition for six different calibres of weapon, without a licence and faces charges for this too.
‘Wanted more members’
He allegedly postponed the attack to enlist more members based in ”the Cape". The indictment does not state if it is the Western or Eastern Cape.
"The attacks were, however, pre-empted by police action," according to the indictment.
"The purpose of the planned terrorist attacks was to overthrow the government of South Africa, attack government institutions and kill African persons so as to intimidate as well as cause or spread feelings of terror, fear or panic in the civilian population of South Africa and in particular the sections of the civilian population targeted," it read.
The alternative charges are: high treason for allegedly conducting the meetings, recruitment and attempts at amassing weapons with the intention of overthrowing the government. He allegedly said he needed another 4 000 people to assist with the mission.
His activities were allegedly centred around Middelburg, Brakpan, Centurion, Roodepoort, Randburg, Nelspruit, Betlehem, Brits, Ermelo, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Meyerton, Muldersdrift and the Sterkfontein Dam.
He is also being charged with allegedly conspiring to commit acts of terrorism with the NCRM, inciting them to commit terrorism through the video clip and recruiting people to do so.