Crusaders 'terror plot': Cape Town man granted R1 000 bail

2019-12-06 15:35
The Hawks confiscated an illegal gun and explosives. (Hawks)

The Hawks confiscated an illegal gun and explosives. (Hawks)

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A Cape Town man who is suspected to be part of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM), also known as the "Crusaders", has been granted R1 000 bail after making his first appearance in court on Friday.

Randall Esau, 46, appeared in the Blue Downs Magistrate's Court on charges of possession of explosives, an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

He added officers had received information about firearms at a shop in Voortrekker Road, Kuils River, and applied for a search warrant.

When they arrived at the shop on Thursday, they were let in by Esau's son.

READ | Terrorism accused, Crusaders leader to spend Christmas behind bars

"The investigators saw a bag that the son said belonged to the accused. The police called the son's father to the shop and he admitted upon arrival that it was his bag. The police found three grenades and a blank firearm with eight rounds."

Ntabazalila said it was believed Esau was a member of the Crusaders and Boeremag.

"The suspect is believed to have links with the other four suspects who have already been arrested and charged for alleged terrorist activities," said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi earlier on Friday.

The case was postponed until March 27 for further investigation.

Harry Knoesen, the self-professed leader of the NCRM, was arrested at his Mpumalanga home on terrorism-related charges last week.

Possible explosives factory

This followed a two-year Hawks investigation into an alleged terrorist plot "apparently co-ordinated by the group to target national key points, shopping malls and informal settlements", Mulaudzi said.

Knoesen, 60, is a former national defence force member and retired pastor. He was apprehended and charged for terrorism-related activities in contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act as well as the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

A search at his other residence in the Eastern Cape, according to the Hawks, uncovered a possible explosives factory, electronic devices and documents as well as an unlicensed firearm and ammunition that were seized for further analysis.

His arrest was soon followed by three others, including that of Riana Heymans, in Kliprivier, Johannesburg.

"Various firearms and ammunition, documents and other items were confiscated by the Criminal Record Centre [CRC] for further probing," Mulaudzi said.

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

They will remain in police custody until their next court appearance on January 12, 2020.

Read more on:    cape town  |  terrorism  |  courts  |  crime
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