EXTREMISMExtremist Planning Bioweapons Attacks to Start a Racial War in South Africa Convicted

Published 9 June 2022

South African court convicts the leader of an extremist group planning to use bioweapons to bring about, in his words, “black genocide” as part of a broader effort to re-establish the country’s apartheid regime.

On Monday, a South African court found five extremists guilty of plotting to topple to South African government and replace it with a resurrected apartheid regime.

The five were part of a group of South African racist extremists who joined with fundamentalist Christians in a plan to use biological weapons to kill thousands of black South Africans.

According to the South African police, members of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM), aka the “Crusaders,” planned to use a biological weapon to infect and kill black people, including the poisoning of water reservoirs supplying Black communities. The poisoning was to take place in the weeks before the end of November 2019, on the 28th and 29th of the month, armed embers of NCRM were to carry out a series of terrorist attacks not only for the purpose of killing thousands of South African citizens, but in order to instigate a racial war between white and black South Africans.

The group’s plan was similar in its strategic goals and methods to those of the “Accelerationist” movement in the West. Accelerationists, a subset of the larger group of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, believe that race and ethnicity create inherent divisions within Western societies, making these societies unreformable and irredeemable. They believe that acts of violence, by individuals or small groups, can inflame and accelerate the collapse of Western societies: The idea is to “accelerate” the crackup of Western governments — and bring on a race war that culminates in white victory.

Accelerationists seek a complete societal collapse, which will allow them to build a white-dominated civilization from the ashes. Accelerationists thus celebrate any crisis — the coronavirus, for example — which might weaken societal foundations. They applaud acts of violence, no matter how senseless, as contributions to the destabilization of society, and encourage one another to commit such acts.

In line with accelerationist beliefs, the leader of NCRM, Harry Johannes Knoesen, 61, in postings on his Facebook page, said that after accomplishing what he called the “genocide of blacks,” South Africa, under his control, would be “reclaimed” by white people and become a forward camp for Christian values, guarded by armed white citizens.

Knoesen and other members of NCRM were arrested 29 November 2019, after a 2-year investigation. The timing of the arrest, a day before Black Friday, was aimed to disrupt plans by BCRM to exploit the fact that thousands of people would be filling shopping malls to create a mass-casualty event.

The NCRM was also planning to attack ports, airports, and bus stations.

Following the November 2019 arrest of the group’s leadership, the NCRM, with a membership of 700-800 people, was dismantled, and large quantities of weapons, ammunitions, and explosives were seized. The South African authorities were especially alarmed by the fact that many members of NCRM were former soldiers or retired intelligence officers, with operational experience.

The NCRM case is reminiscent of case from nearly three decades ago. In 2013, twenty members of the far-right extremist group known as the Boeremag were sentenced to prison for plotting to kill South Africa’s first Black president Nelson Mandela, overthrow the government, and kill thousands of Black people.

The members of the group were handed sentences ranging from five to thirty-five years following a 10-year treason trial.