Maverick Citizen

TERRORISM TRIAL

Leader of right-wing ‘Crusaders’ hate group faces life in jail after terror conviction

Leader of right-wing ‘Crusaders’ hate group faces life in jail after terror conviction
Right-wing extremist pastor Harry Knoesen has been found guilty of terrorism. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

Harry Knoesen, the self-styled pastor and ‘general’ of the National Christian Resistance Movement – also known as the Crusaders – has been found guilty of trying to overthrow the state in 2019. The judge has requested a report, to deliberate on aggravating and mitigating factors that will guide her sentencing. 

The Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga has requested a pre-sentencing report sentencing right-wing extremist pastor terrorist Harry Knoesen.

The leader of the white supremacist National Christian Resistance Movement, known as the Crusaders, was convicted on terrorism and weapons charges by Judge Johanna Mthimunye on Monday, 6 June in the Middelburg High Court.

Initially, Knoesen pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial started on 28 April. The prescribed minimum sentence for terrorism is life imprisonment with an additional minimum sentence of 15 years for soliciting the support of others to carry out terrorist attacks.

Sentencing proceedings had been set down for this week. However, Mthimunye postponed the matter to 27 July for a pre-sentencing report to be submitted.

National Prosecuting Authority Mpumalanga regional spokesperson Monica Nyuswa explained the pre-sentencing report will help the judge to take into account Knoesen’s personal circumstances, the seriousness of the offences and the interests of society.

Knoesen had planned an insurrection with the Crusaders from December 2018.  

On 28 November 2019, hours before the attack was to take place, Knoesen was arrested.

It was the damning testimony of Riana Heymans, a former member of the Crusaders who was Knoesen’s social media manager, which helped the State to secure a successful conviction.

Court documents reveal that extreme perceptions of farm killings, threats from Black First Land First (BLF) and EFF leader Julius Malema’s song “Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer”, drove the plot to overthrow the government. 

Knoesen had also explored the possibility of using a biological weapon to infect and kill black people.

Against this backdrop, the court needs to deliberate over the aggravating and mitigating factors in the case. 

After Knoesen’s arrest in November 2019, BLF leader in Mpumalanga Elias Makwana laid also charges of incitement to violence, high treason and crimen injuria against him.

On Friday, 17 June, BLF leader Andile Mngxitama told Daily Maverick those convicted of racism should be jailed for at least 20 years. “The sentence imposed should act as a deterrent and send a message that racism will not be allowed in this country. We also need to quickly bring about tolerance and criminalise acts of racism,” Mngxitama said.

BLF, incidentally, was ordered by the Equality Court in March to apologise to South Africans and pay a R50,000 fine for vilifying white people in social media posts that constituted hate speech. 

Knoesen’s fate will be determined once the proceedings resume on 27 July 2022. DM



Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Yeah, the so-called pastor and his sort should go to jail for life but so should other racists like Malema and Mngxitama. You can’t give a white racist life and a black racist a mere fine. Where is the consistency of justice in that?

  • Peter Streng says:

    It is common cause that farm murders, BLF rhetoric & EFF anti-white utterances are a concern to most Whites in SA, about which the cANCer are incapable and unwilling to act. Not that it excuses the proposed actions of the Crusaders, but it underscores a deep-seated level of gatvolness amongst Whites.

  • Pieter Schoombee says:

    This, at the end of the report, caught my eye: “On Friday, 17 June, BLF leader Andile Mngxitama told Daily Maverick those convicted of racism should be jailed for at least 20 years. ‘The sentence imposed should act as a deterrent and send a message that racism will not be allowed in this country. We also need to quickly bring about tolerance and criminalise acts of racism,’ Mngxitama said.”

    Excellent idea, let’s start start with Mr Mngxitama, whose racism has been raging for many years and is evidently ongoing, as attested by this from the DM report:

    “BLF, incidentally, was ordered by the Equality Court in March to apologise to South Africans and pay a R50,000 fine for vilifying white people in social media posts that constituted hate speech. “

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

X

This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.


Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.