The Mpumalanga High Court sitting in Middleburg on Tuesday, sentenced the leader of a right-wing organisation to two life terms with an additional 21 years in jail for terrorism-related charges
Harry Johannes Knoesen, the leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement, was convicted and sentenced to life behind bars this week. The court heard that he had planned to carry out the attacks, using biological weapons in some instances, between December 2018 and 28 November 2019.
The 63-year-old man was found guilty of planning to indiscriminately kill black people in townships and informal settlements as well as attempting to overthrow the country’s democratic movement.
Knoesen was also convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
The court also heard that Knoesen had deep-rooted hatred for people of other races and that he used religion to justify his beliefs.
Monica Nyuswa, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson said: “He sought to justify his beliefs on religious grounds, claiming that God had ordained that he should reclaim South Africa for white people. These highly racial views were his motivation to decide to overthrow the government, and indiscriminately kill African people.
“Koesen was charged together with the Abrams brothers, Errol, and Eric, who pleaded guilty to the crimes and were sentenced.
“He planned to attack the government institutions and more specifically, police and military institutions. He also identified townships and informal settlements occupied by African persons as targets for attack.”
Koesen took over the organisation and appointed himself as the commander-in-chief, giving himself the title of general, Nyuswa said
“He explored the possibility of using a biological weapon to infect and kill members of the African population. He also had discussions regarding the arrangement of training in urban warfare,” she said.
Knoesen’s application for leave to appeal against his sentence and conviction was also dismissed.
Source: The Citizen, IOL, News24, image from Twitter: @shongables