JOHANNESBURG. — Two members of a right-wing group have been sentenced to eight years behind bars in the Middelburg Regional Court after they planned to stage terror attacks at malls during the Black Friday frenzy in November last year.
The two terrorists, brothers Eric Donald Abrahams, 55, and Errol Abrahams, 50, were members of the Crusaders right-wing organisation.
The Hawks said members of the Crimes Against the State section arrested them in Klipriver, Gauteng, on November 28 and 29.
They were found guilty on charges of contravening the Contravention of Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Matters Act (Pocdatara) by planning to launch terrorist attacks on government buildings and black people.
Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said they 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.”
The two, who were convicted of preparing and planning terrorist attacks, were sentenced to 15 years’ jail, of which seven years were suspended for five years.
The extreme right-wing figures were charged for the following offences:
- Count 1: Preparing and planning to carry out terrorist attacks – 15 years’ imprisonment, with seven suspended
- Count 2: Financing of specified offence (terrorism) – five years of imprisonment.
- Count 3: Unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm – five years of imprisonment
- Count 4: Unlawful possession of a firearm- five years of imprisonment.
- Count 5: Unlawful possession of ammunition – five years of imprisonment.
- Count 6: Unlawful possession of more than 200 cartridges- five years of imprisonment.
- Total sentence: Counts 2-6 will run concurrently with Count 1, putting the suspects behind bars for eight years.
They were also sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for various other crimes, including financing the plot and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms, ammunition and more than 200 cartridges.
The sentences will run concurrently, meaning they will serve an effective 8 years in prison.
Mogale said the court declared them unfit to possess firearms, ammunition, competency certificates, licences, authorisation and permits.
Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya applauded the investigators and prosecutors for securing the sentence.
Meanwhile, Mogale said the case against Harry Knoesen, who was touted as the leader of the group, will commence in February. He has pleaded not guilty to similar charges.
The Hawks received information Knoesen and his Crusaders were about to launch a terror campaign by targeting shopping malls and informal settlements.
They arrested him and charged him with terrorism after discovering a bomb factory at one of his residences. ■