Pretoria – A woman wanted for alleged activities linked to the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM), also known as the “Crusaders”, has been arrested, the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) said on Sunday.
Riana Heymans was arrested on Friday evening with two other alleged accomplices in Kliprivier in Johannesburg, Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said in a statement.
Various firearms and ammunition, documents, and other items were confiscated by the criminal record centre (CRC) for further probing, he said.
The Hawks were forced to make a rapid arrest this week after they received information that Knoesen, the alleged leader of the right-wing Christian organisation was about to launch a terror campaign targeting shopping malls and informal settlements.
On Thursday, as South Africans across the country prepared for Black Friday, the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation’s Crimes Against The State (CATS) team and National Crime Intelligence raided two residences belonging to Knoesen.
One of the residences, they suspect, contained a bomb factory.
Knoesen was arrested at his house in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.
On the same day, the Hawks also raided Knoesen’s farm in the Eastern Cape. There they found chemicals, electronic devices, documents and an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
Hawk investigators had apparently been investigating Knoesen for the past two years, but had to rush to arrest him after they received a tip-off that he was about to launch an attack that would target national key points, shopping malls and informal settlements.
Some of these national key points were army bases. “These attacks were to be directed towards black people,” Malaudzi added.
He could not reveal when the alleged attack was supposed to happen.
According to the Middelburg Observer newspaper, who were present when Knoesen made his court appearance, it emerged that the leader of the NCRM had called on his members on social media to gather their weapons and shoot black people.
The court further heard that he told white South Africans who support his movement to collect unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
He had asked a member to secure him AK47s, handguns, ammunition and RPG rocket propelled grenades.
Police also went to arrest Heymans on Thursday but they believe she was tipped-off before they arrived at her workplace.
“This lady is very critical to our investigation. But she doesn’t stay in one place, she moves around,” Mulaudzi said at the time.
Knoesen, a self-confessed racist, has over the years called for a war against black South Africans.
In April in a video, Knoesen, sporting a military beret, revealed the ex-pastor calling on white people to strike first and start a war as this is the only way “white people can save themselves”.
On a Facebook post, Knoesen said that when he takes back the land, he would give all white South Africans “a free piece of land large enough to build and live on”.
Mulaudzi could not reveal how large Knoesen’s following is.
The Crusaders’ website only revealed the organisation’s emblem, with the motto: “Yield to none”.