Thulsie twins forcing NPA to play their cards

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The alleged “ISIS-bound Terror Twins” may find themselves getting a walk unless South African intelligence services are prepared to risk compromising their ongoing relationships and investigations with their foreign intelligence counterparts. South Africa had been tipped off about the twins by “foreign intelligence agencies” and a fifth suspect who was arrested with the Thulsie twins and the Patel siblings. The defence team has found a soft spot and is digging its heels in. Read why...
by EXCLUSIVE! ANT KATZ | Aug 01, 2016

What was supposed to be the beginning of a bail hearing for the Thulsie "Terror Twins" last week Monday has not managed to get to the matter of bail in the past 10 days. This is because the 23-year-old twin brothers’ defence team launched their own application in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court to have their arrests and subsequent detentions declared unlawful.

The nub of their defence is that the two were arrested without an arrest warrant being issued.

Thulsie family2

RIGHT: Mom Wasiela Thulsie centre, walks with family members as they leave the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court in Johannesburg 

The arresting officer, Warrant Officer Wynand Olivier, took the stand in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. Olivier testified that while it was correct that the police had set out to search the Thulsies’ homes with a search warrant, “it was evidence found at the twins’ homes that prompted their arrest.”

New information to emerge over the past week includes:

  • The Hawks have strong evidence linking the two to ISIS
  • SA had been tipped off about the twins by “foreign intelligence agencies”
  • A fifth suspect was arrested with the twins and the Patel siblings
  • Magistrate Pieter du Plessis says he will base his decision of the legality of arrest on the credibility of the evidence presented by the State

The story to date in 30 seconds: According to the provisional charge sheet against the Thulsies, it appears that they were arrested at their Newclare homes on July 8.  

ThulsieThe SA Police’s elite priority crime unit, the Hawks, issued a media statement two days later stating that the two brothers, together with the Patel siblings, had been stopped trying to travel to the Middle East last year to join ISIS.

LEFT: The Thulsie "Terror Twins"

After their attempt had been thwarted they began planning to build bombs and attack a “US diplomatic mission and Jewish institutions” in South Africa. 

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies National Chairman Jeff Katz, issued a statement which, in effect, said that no-one is immune to terror.

The Patels were arrested for firearm contraventions only and managed to get bail quickly.

Thulsie AugJewish Report Online then dubbed the Thulsies the “Terror Twins” – a name that has stuck like glue in all media reports on the case and also revealed hitherto unpublished facts about how the Thulsie twins were arrested – including evidence that was only today revealed in open court.


This was that the Hawks had only had a search warrant and that they found a list of intended targets and some sort of partially assembled bomb-related device – but no explosives. However, other state security agencies - likely those that received the tip-offs in the first place - seem to have got their hands on some of the evidence as neither the Hawks nor the NPA admit to having them in their possession.

Jewish Report Chairman Howard Sackstein, then wrote an op-ed titled SA in terror cross-hairs.

Late last week, defence attorney Annelene van den Heever, representing Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, had asked the court to declare the arrest of the twins being unlawful, as the police had only arrived with a search warrant.

Suddenly, this is a massive game changer

Magistrate Du Plessis ordered prosecutors to provide prima facie evidence to show that the arrests were legal. Normally, under a schedule six offence such as terrorism, it is extremely unlikely that bail will be granted. If, however, NPA prosecutors are unable to show that the police found sufficient evidence to arrest the twins on a schedule six offence, things may start falling apart for them.

A source inside the investigation team, who could not speak unless given anonymity,  told Jewish Report that the prosecutors did have sufficient evidence. The problem is, she said, that SA’s national intelligence agencies may be forced to compromise both this case and other alliances and joint operations between SA and foreign intelligence agencies should they have to reveal their evidence and its origins at this stage.

Thulie - NPA Phindo LouwIn court today (Monday), Van den Heever had the arresting officer in the dock when proceedings were ended for the day and remanded until Thursday.

RIGHT: The NPA's Phindi Louw leaving the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court

The NPA officials will have to frantically ponder over what evidence is enough to counter the defence's assertions.

If prosecutors are able to prove that the arrests were legitimate, the bail application will proceed and the onus will be on the twins to show that there are exceptional circumstances that justify their release.

Thulsie TM mother outside court hiding face

LEFT: Wasiela Thulsie, mother of the alleged "Terror Twins" covers her face as she leaves the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court hounded by local and international media


Jewish Report spoke to the NPA’s Gauteng spokesman, Phindi Louw, after the case was remanded today and asked her how it was that charge sheets had gone from plans to bomb “Jewish institutions” to now allegedly changed to “Jewish cultural sites”. She has promised to provide SAJR with the various preliminary charge sheets as soon as possible which may help cast a clearer picture on this.

UPDATE: The charge sheets still refer to “Jewish institutions” and "cultural sites" is likely simply a term that the defence or prosecution is using in the courtroom. This could explain the fact that it has been so widely reported as such this week. 

Warrant Officer Wynand Olivier, the arresting officer, was in the dock all afternoon today and will resume giving evidence on Thursday morning. He told the magistrate after Van den Heever’s questions that reports by foreign intelligence agencies has been corroborated by the evidence obtained on the day of the raids. While the police had only gone to the premises to search for evidence, they did not have arrest warrants.

see say tall correctedOlivier testified that he only applied for a search warrant for the brothers’ properties because, at the time, their investigation was ongoing.

SA Jewry should be more vigilant, says the CSO, and their number is a national emergency call centre. They would rather you called them too often, than not often enough. Remember their number - 086-CHAI-000-CHAI

However, said Olivier, when the information that had been provided by foreign intelligence agencies was corroborated by the evidence police found on the day of the raids, only then had they contemplated arresting the twins.

He says during the raids they obtained the required evidence which then provided the grounds to arrest the twins. This, he said, included a statement from a witness, the fifth suspect Ranolado Smith. In the Hawks’ raid on Smith's home, Olivier said Smith gave them a statement about who Simba was and what he planned to do.

A Hawks insider told Jewish Report today that because of the potential risk to top secret information, the NPA were even withholding certain evidence from the Hawks themselves, rather than risk compromise. One such piece of evidence is the list of targets apparently found at one of the Thulsie twins’ homes.

The magistrate’s determination to be convinced that the detention was based on credible evidence may cause a problem for the State. The defence’s assertion is that the fifth person, who had agreed to turn state’s evidence and had implicated the twins, has now requested to recant his statement.

However, NPA spokesman Phindi Louw told Jewish Report that there is no provision in SA law for a person who agrees to turn state’s evidence to either recant their evidence nor change their status.

Clearly, this is going to be an interesting case over the coming days. Interesting indeed. In the meanwhile, SA Jewry will never feel the complacency again that they did just three weeks ago.


  1. 2 nat cheiman 01 Aug
    Our keystone cops are incompetent. Obviously they had foreign intelligence. Isis has been in this country training for many years and the "intelligence"knows that very well.
    Reports of camps in the W.Cape and Natal have done the rounds. 
    Our cops like Mdluli, have other things on their mind like helping themselves to loot and political things.
    The NPA are also stupid to withhold evidence of targets.If they want to nail these guys on terrorism charges then they need to disclose the targets.
    The prosecutor is incorrect in saying there is no provision in law for a witness to recant. The common law situation is that the witness can be called and tell the court that they were forced to make a statement under duress. 
    The prosecutor can put the 5th persons statement to the court in order to have bail denied.
    But, incompetence is rife in the "intelligence" , NPA, and Hawks.
    Can you imagine what the foreign agencies think of our "intelligence"and crime fighting units?
  2. 1 Choni 02 Aug
    Another "warning" for young Jews to leave this exilic cemetery, and make Aliyah.


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