Harry Johannes Knoesen is a retired Pastor and formerly served on the South African National Defence Force. He is, however, better known for pushing his racially charged agenda via social media.
Knoesen is allegedly the leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM), also known as the Crusaders- a group of individuals whose goal it is to “stand together as a white nation”.
On Thursday, 28 November, after a two-year investigation by the Hawks, 60-year-old Knoesen was arrested in his home in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. A few days later, a woman believed to be a top-ranking member of the NCRM, Riana Heymans, was arrested in Kliprivier, Johannesburg, where she had been hiding from police. At her hideout, police found more unlicensed weapons. Heymans, Knoesen and two brothers: Errol and Eric Abrahams were scheduled to appear in court on Monday, 6 December.
According to Hawks’s spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, police found a “factory” inside the Eastern Cape residence of one of Knoesen’s followers, containing explosives, devices with detonators and unlicensed firearms. Police also found documents on the premises believed to contain the NCRM’s hit list of shopping malls, police stations and informal settlements frequented by black people. All of these items were confiscated by police for further investigation.
The Crusaders, however, seems to be a much larger group. On Thursday, 5 December, a 46-year-old man was arrested at his business premises in Kuilsriver, Cape Town, for the illegal possession of a firearm, explosives and explosive devices. He is suspected of being a member of the NCRM and is believed to be linked to the other four suspects who have already been charged. Another suspected member of the NCRM has also been arrested in the South-West, indicating that Knoesen’s social media conquests might have reached like-minded people across the country.
The suspects are expected to appear in court on 12 January 2020. They will spend the entire festive season behind bars.