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Darkness, Hate and Fear-Exposing JZ Knight's Ramtha Cult in Yelm

JZ Knight’s Rules of Murder, Hate and Fear

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The Final Days

Lena Botes, 49, had lived and worked on the duPlessis farm for three years before the shootings, and had gotten to know Philipe and Agnis.  They had told her of JZ Knight’s teachings.

Botes  told Johannesburg’s Times Live reporter Nashira Davids:

“Philippe told me there is no such thing as God. He doesn’t exist.  I told him that that is not true.

He shook his head and I warned him that it is because he has such an attitude that he is struggling the way he is.

They would collect firewood with the twigs that fell from the trees to make a fire to keep warm in winter.  And they didn’t have much money for food.”

Lena had assumed that the couple’s financial state was dire, considering that they had been stealing her food.  But her assumption was wrong.

Among the couple’s possessions later found in their home were cases of wine, boxes of canned food and ammunition, survival and medical gear, and French designer clothes.

Lena Botes said that Agnis would sit at a nearby dam for hours at a time. Botes watched Phillipe read from a thick book, then tear out the pages and hand them to Agnis to burn.

By January 2011, Gerhardus du Plessis had become quite fearful of these thieving tenants, their obsession with JZ Knight’s bizarre teachings, and most of all, their suspected illegal weapons stash.

He tried to evict them, but they refused to leave his farm. He felt he had no choice but to call the police.

In those final days, farm worker Lena Botes had also noticed changes in Phillipe and Agnis. She told Johannesburg’s Times Live that, a few days before the shootings:

“…something strange happened. We could hear them fighting. And then she ran out of the house crying and screaming.

“She started to do scary martial arts moves. I couldn’t believe such an old woman could jump and kick so high. And then it was all over and she was fine again.”

The Shootings

When four policemen arrived at the farm after the call, Gerhardus du Plessis’ two adult sons, Jaen, 26 and Cobus, 28, took them to see Phillipe and Agnis.

When the group first arrived, the RSE couple appeared rational and non-confrontational, and calmly allowed the police into their home to remove their illegal weapons.   Phillipe even helped the police take their weapons from the house.

Jaen du Plessis described what happened next to Helen Bamford, deputy news editor for Cape Argus:

“It was relaxed, as if we were all standing around at a braai (barbecue).

Philippe then leaned over against my brother’s vehicle and when he straightened up he had a handgun.

“He shot the police officer standing between me and my brother. He then leaned over and shot him again, in the head.”

Jacob Boleme, 27, died at the scene.

Agnis then shot Officer duToit in his spinal cord, severely wounding him. DuToit fell to the ground, and appeared dead.

Jaen and Cobus du Plessis and the two remaining policemen then turned and ran for the bush. They were all unarmed at this point.

The couple shot out the tires of the survivors’ vehicles. Then they chased them for miles through the wilderness, shooting after them.

Eventually they gave up the pursuit and disappeared into hiding.

Farm worker Lena Botes came to Jacob Boleme a few moments after the shooting.  She told Johannesburg’s Times Live reporter Nashira Davids that she could not forget the blood.

“The blood streamed from his body like water.”

The Manhunt for JZ Knight’s Followers

A massive manhunt followed.  Warnings were posted throughout the area, describing the armed and dangerous fugitives.

Information was distributed about the murderers’ U.S. doomsday cult—JZ Knight’s Ramtha School of Enlightenment, from faraway Yelm, Washington.

South African newspaper showed photos of du Plessis sons, who escaped murder attempts by JZ Knight's followers
South African newspaper showed photos of du Plessis sons, who escaped murder attempts by JZ Knight’s followers


People remained in their homes.

After six days, police located the couple’s remote hideout and surrounded it.

Refusing to surrender, Phillipe shot Agnis in the head at point blank range—just as he had killed Jacob Boleme.  Then he turned the gun on himself.

The Aftermath

Constable Jacob Boleme leaves behind two small daughters.

Officer Glenwald duToit—also a father of two–was first taken to the nearby Sutherland Hospital, and then airlifted to N1 City Hospital in Cape Town.  His wife Wendy, a schoolteacher, rode with him.

When the Cape Times reporters entered Du Toit’s intensive care ward, his pastor Aubrey Adams was there, praying for him.

“It could have been worse,” Wendy duToit told the Cape Times, “but God protected him.”

Gerhardus du Plessis has talked of how hard it is to live with the tragic consequences of his call to the police that day.

JZ Knight sent condolences to Boleme’s survivors, and get well wishes to duToit.

But at the same time, she defended her sovereignist teachings to Johannesburg’s City Press—the same teachings that inspired the shootings.

“A sovereign person is able to support their life without gambling on banks, the stock market, or paper investments.

I am very proud of this culture of RSE and that our students have heard this message from Ramtha for over 25 years.”

Jacob Boleme’s funeral was huge, with full honors and color guard.

His family was handed the flag from his casket.  His mother’s grief stricken face told the whole story.

Nobody claimed the killers’ bodies. The local authorities eventually buried them.

A year after the shootings, the South African police marked the anniversary with a wreath laying ceremony.

They held a police run from the du Plessis farm to the local station, to remember Jacob Boleme.

“The run will signify police running for lives,” said local station commissioner Captain Zaki van Wyk.

Thurston County Assessor Steven Drew Tells Staff to Take On Local RSE Sovereignists

Thurston County Assessor Steven Drew stated in 2013 that he would send his employees to enter and inspect the underground bunkers of JZ Knight’s RSE sovereignist followers in the Yelm area.

Thurston County Assessor Steve Drew
Thurston County Assessor Steve Drew

The same bunkers where Knight’s followers stash their gold and weapons, preparing for Knight’s terrifying, bizarre prophecies.

The same prophecies that drove Knight’s followers to shoot two police officers in South Africa, and to try to kill four other people.

Assessor Drew was quoted in the Nisqually Valley News that, in recent years, he had noticed a large influx of detailed “No Trespassing” signs that speak directly to government employees.

We can only guess that Drew didn’t believe the signs. Even after the international publicity following the 2011 shootings of police officers Boleme and duToit—and the connection to JZ Knight and RSE.

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