Harry Johannes Knoesen allegedly planned to target informal settlements, key points and malls and had an ‘explosives factory’.
The self-professed leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM) also known as the ‘Crusaders’ was arrested for alleged terrorism by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation’s Crimes Against The State (CATS) team and National Crime Intelligence on Thursday, the Hawks said in a statement on Friday.
The arrest came after a two-year extensive intelligence led investigation into the alleged terrorist plot apparently coordinated by the group to target national key points, shopping malls and informal settlements.
The 60-year-old Harry Johannes Knoesen was apprehended at his residence in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, and charged for terrorism-related activities in contravention of Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Activities (POCDATARA), unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The subsequent search at his other residence in the Eastern Cape uncovered a possible explosives factory, electronic devices, documents, an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, which were seized for further analysis.
Knoesen is a retired pastor and former SANDF member.
The case was postponed to Monday for legal aid representation.
Harry Johannes Knoesen. Picture: The Hawks
Meanwhile, the team also secured a warrant for the arrest of Riana Heymans.
Riana Heymans. Picture: The Hawks
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said that any member of the public found to be harbouring her would be in contravention of Section 12 of the POCDATARA Act.
“She is wanted for questioning on the activities of the NCRM. Members of the public are urged refrain from getting involved in such activities and anyone who might know her whereabouts should contact the Investigating officer Warrant Officer Jaco Koekemoer on 0827789157 or Lieutenant Colonel Koos de Klerk 0714812982,” said Mulaudzi.
In what may turn out to be a similar case, a group known as the Boeremag were responsible for planting various bombs and conspiring to plant more in a campaign to destablise the country by attempting to bring about a race war in 2002. Many of their leaders were later arrested and jailed.
In April, The Citizen reported that the self-confessed racist and president of the Crusaders National Christian Resistance Movement, Knoesen, featured in a video in which he incites war, saying it was the only way white people could save themselves.
Knoesen said he met with the leaders of other movements and discussed security measures to be taken against the “genocide”, though that discussion only made him realise the other movements’ plan of action was lacking.
According to Knoesen, these other movements were waiting to see what would happen, a plan he disagreed with because his movement was all about attacking the “enemy” while they were sleeping.
He said: “It’s important for us to stay together as a white nation. I know there are many movements. I met with some of the leaders around the table and we sat and we spoke, and halfway into speaking I told them we’re not on the same page. The reason being they want to defend and see what happens.
“Reality is, you cannot wait to see what the enemy does to you. You cannot wait for the enemy to wake up. It’s too late already. The Crusaders haven’t got a waiting plan, we’ve got an attack plan. The only way to win the situation and turn the tables is by attacking. Yes, I’m talking war. If [Julius] Malema can say what he wants and the rest can say what they want because they’re black, then me as a white man and general of my movement … I will say what’s in my heart.”
Knoesen admitted to being racist, and added that it was the darkness in the country that had made him so. He was also a man of God, who loved Him with all his heart.
According to the Middelburg Observer, Knoesen was elected in 2012 as the acting president of the previously secret organisation and has been a member for more than 20 years. The organisation has called for white people to fight against BEE, affirmative and other ill-treatment towards white people.
He said he had a “godly” instruction to take back what the devil stole from white people through politics.
“In return I promise you a safe, secure country where criminals fear to walk our streets. Your colour will count in your favour for jobs. I will reinstate the death penalty and punish those already judged and sentenced. Prison will be a feared place. I promise to secure the future of our race.”
Read the rest of his post below:
Mpumalanga Black First Land First leader Elias Makwana laid charges of incitement to violence, high treason and crimen injuria against Knoesen earlier this year.
They said in an affidavit : “Knoesen has committed the crime of High Treason in that he acted unlawfully and intentionally via his call to extrajudicial means – through the taking up of arms – so as to return the country to white ownership and governance.
“Knoesen, via his call, also praises apartheid, which is based on colonialism. All sane people know that colonialism is the process of land dispossession and genocide against black people. It is based on the historical theft of black lands as well as the destruction of the African belief systems, values and identity and, to this end the imposition of super exploitation, oppression and discrimination on blacks – including on a psychological level – that started in 1652.
“Knoesen thus dismisses the historical and collective pain of blacks. This amounts to the offence of crimen injuria.”
(Edited by Charles Cilliers)