Specialist police unit arrested white supremacist activist Harry Johannes Knoesen, leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM). A tip off suggested that he had been involved in a plot to carry out a number of attacks on Back Friday, the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The attacks were to have targeted nation key points (including military installation), shopping centres and informal settlements. The objective would have been to cause death and injury to a large number of black people.

Knoesen, a former solider and pastor, had reportedly also encouraged his supporters to secure firearms and ammunition and to attack black people.

Two properties belonging to Knoesen were raided. He was taken into custody at his residence in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, while a raid on a farm in the Eastern Cape produced a cache of chemicals, documents and electronic devices. Publicly available details are sketchy at present, but the Hawks believe the latter finds point to bomb-making facilities.

The Hawks were also preparing to take one Riana Heymans – an estate agent from Alberton – into custody. Although she initially attempted to evade them, it has been reported that she and two accomplices were arrested in Johannesburg in Friday.

A video of Knoesen circulated earlier in the year, in which he seemed to indicate that his movement was preparing for a race war. He commented: ‘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 [EFF leader 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.’

This matter appears to recall the case of the Boeremag, a group of whose members had been arrested in 2002 and 2003, and prosecuted for planning violence and assassinations and to drive black people out of the country.

While there is nothing to indicate that such groups have any noticeable support, the apparent willingness to use violence poses a danger to South African society.

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