White South African Pastor Gets Life Imprisonment for Planning Black Genocide

By Our Reporter




A white supremacist who was plotting the genocide of black South Africans and a coup in the country has been jailed for life.


Harry Knoesen, 64, was the leader of a far-right terrorist group and had led plans to overthrow the government on 28 November 2019 using AK-47 rifles, hand grenades and rocket launchers.


Knoesen even wanted to use biological weapons to wipe out black people, the Mpumalanga High Court heard.


“He sought to justify his beliefs on religious grounds, claiming that God had ordained that he should reclaim South Africa for white people,” said National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Monica Nyuswa.


In total, Knoesen has been handed two life sentences plus 21 years behind bars for terrorism-related offences.


Earlier, the Middelburg High Court sitting in the Middleburg Magistrates court on 06 June 2022 found Knoesen guil for the contravention of Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Matters Act (POCDATARA).


He is the fifth accused of the crime and leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement aka “Crusaders” right-wing organization.


Knoesen led and formed part of the Crusaders organisation that planned and conspired to overthrow the democratically elected Government of South Africa and replace it with a Government led by the organisation. This objective would be achieved by carrying out attacks on military and police installations as well as on informal settlements occupied by African persons.


After pleading not guilty, Knoesen had appeared several times in court defending his plea which culminated in his conviction.


Knoesen was found guilty of all the five counts.


Count 1:   Contravention of POCDATARA – preparing and planning to carry out terrorist attacks – guilty


Count 2:   Incitement to carry out terrorist attack in South Africa – guilty


Count 3:   Soliciting support/recruitment of persons to carry out terrorist attacks in South Africa – guilty


Count 4: Unlawful possession of a firearm – guilty.


Count 5: Unlawful possession of ammunition – guilty


The other accused, Donald Abrahams (57) and Erroll Abrahams (52) who were found guilty in December 2020, are serving time behind bars following their pleading guilty and sentencing.


On 08 December 2020, they received the following sentences:


Count 1: Preparing and planning to carry out terrorist attacks – “Fifteen (15) years’ imprisonment, of which seven (7) years are suspended for five (5) years.


Count 2: Financing of specified offence (terrorism) – 5 years imprisonment.


Count 3: Unlawful possession of prohibited firearm – 5 years imprisonment


Count 4: Unlawful possession of a firearm- 5 years imprisonment.


Count 5: Unlawful possession of ammunition – 5 years imprisonment.


Count 6: Unlawful possession of more than 200 cartridges- 5 years imprisonment.


Effectively each accused is serving 8 years in prison. All other sentences will run concurrent with the sentence on count 1(preparing and planning to carry out terrorist attacks).


The Court further ordered in terms of section 103 of the Firearms Control Act, that both accused are unfit to possess firearms, ammunition, competency certificates, licences, authorisation and permits.

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