Hawks nab leader of Christian 'terrorist' group
Police arrested Harry Johannes Knoesen, the self-professed leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement, also known as the "Crusaders".
The arrest was made by the Hawks’ serious organised crime investigation’s Crimes Against The State team, along with national crime intelligence on Thursday.
It follows a two-year intelligence-led investigation into an alleged terrorist plot apparently coordinated by the group. The plot allegedly targeted national key points, shopping malls and informal settlements.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said Knoesen, 60, was apprehended at his home in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. Knoesen is a retired pastor and a former SA National Defence Force member.
He was charged with terrorism-related activities in contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Activities (Poctadara) Act and for 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 that were seized for further analysis," Mulaudzi said.
The case was postponed until Monday to allow Knoesen to arrange legal aid representation.
Mulaudzi said the investigating team also secured a warrant for the arrest of Riana Heymans in connection with the case.
She is wanted for questioning on the activities of the National Christian Resistance Movement.
Mulaudzi said any member of the public found to be harbouring Heymans would be charged in contravention of Section 12 of the Poctadara Act.
Members of the public are urged to refrain from getting involved in such activities, and anyone who might know Heymans's whereabouts should contact Warrant Officer Jaco Koekemoer on 0827789157 or Lieutenant Colonel Koos de Klerk on 0714812982.