Cape Town businessman linked to Christian 'terror plot' gets R1,000 bail
A Cape Town businessman allegedly linked to a group involved in a “terrorist plot” targeting national key points and shopping malls was freed on R1,000 bail on Friday.
The state did not oppose bail when Russell Esau, 46, appeared in Blue Downs magistrate's court, but asked that it be set at R10,000.
However, Esau's lawyer, M Abbas, convinced the court to release him on R1,000 bail. The matter was postponed to March 22 for further investigation.
The Hawks arrested Esau in Kuils River on Thursday. He is charged with illegal possession of a firearm, explosives and explosive devices.
The court was told police found a firearm, eight rounds of ammunition, smoke grenades and stun grenades at his business.
In a statement announcing Esau's arrest, the Hawks said he was the fifth member of the National Christian Resistance Movement to be taken into custody.
Outside court, Abbas denied Esau had any links to the movement.
“He has no links to that movement. He is a businessman. He denies any affiliation to that movement.”
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said: “The suspect was arrested on Thursday in a disruptive operation by Hawks serious organised crime investigators, crime intelligence and the provincial flash unit at his business premises.
“The suspect is believed to have links with the other four suspects who have already been arrested and charged for alleged terrorist activities. Investigations are still continuing.”
Esau's arrest followed that of Harry Johannes Knoesen, 60, self-proclaimed leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement, also known as the “Crusaders”, last week at his home in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. He is a retired pastor and a former SA National Defence Force member.
Knoesen was charged with terrorism-related activities in contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Activities Act and for unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.