Terror plot suspects arrested


The South African Police Service (SAPS) has arrested a National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM) member on suspicion of planning acts of terror in South Africa.

The SAPS said that Riana Heymans was arrested on Friday evening with two other accomplices in Kliprivier, Johannesburg, by an integrated team of Crime Intelligence operatives and Hawks members from Serious Organised Crime Investigation.

Various firearms and ammunition, documents and other items were confiscated by the Criminal Record Centre (CRC) for further probing.

Heymans’ arrest came a day after Johannes Knoesen, the self-professed leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement, also known as the Crusaders, was arrested on terrorism-related charges at his Mpumalanga home by the Hawks.

After his arrest, Heymans and co-accused Eric Abrams apparently went into hiding but were apprehended on Friday.

Knoesen, 60, Riana Heyman, 54, together with brothers Eric Abrams, 55, and Errol Abrams, 49, appeared briefly in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

They were charged for contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act as well as harbouring a wanted suspect in terms of the same act.

According to a statement by Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, the four accused will remain in police custody until their next court appearance on 12 January 2020.

Knoesen and his accomplices were apparently planning to attack informal settlements, shopping centres and national key points in an effort to “bring about a black genocide.”

Knoesen is a former pastor and member of the South African National Defence Force. When he was arrested, a search at his other residence in the Eastern Cape uncovered a possible explosives factory, electronic devices, documents an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.