Ramtha sect 'not violent'

Sutherland, South Africa - The founder of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment (RSE) "expressed a mixture of relief and sadness" upon hearing the news of a French couple's death in Sutherland.

Sixty-year-old Phillipe Meniere and 55-year-old Agnis Jardel, who were thought to be Ramtha followers, were found dead in a farmhouse on Thursday after a shootout with police. They were on the run after opening fire on police officials last week, killing one and wounding another, while fighting a forced eviction at a farm.

"I am joined by the staff and students of RSE in sending our prayers to the families, friends and community members of Sutherland who have been so tragically affected by the recent shootings on the du Plessis property," JZ Knight, Ramtha's founder, said in a statement.

"We send our prayers for a swift healing for [the injured] officer [Glenwall] du Toit."

Knight also sent a message to the family of the officer killed.

"To the family of Jacob Boleme, we know that no words can console such a loss, still our hearts go out to you. This unfortunate atrocity affects us all and many lives have been impacted by these horrific events."

Meniere and Jardel reportedly attended several RSE courses between 1999 and 2004.

"As reported by the du Plessis family to the media, the change in their behaviour happened only within the last year or two, so their recent actions are unrelated to RSE or its teachings," Knight said, adding that she had never met the couple.

"This School does not condone violence in any form. The fundamental precepts taught at the School emphasise the sacredness of human life. The choices made by the couple do not reflect an understanding of the school's philosophy," she said.

"RSE students are not survivalists," Knight went on. "We are sovereignists. We have always been taught to be prepared for anything, to be able to provide and care for ourselves and our families. 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. I am very proud our students have done whatever they can, no matter how meager, to became sovereign. Ramtha has been making predictions of Earth changes for decades and has given people hope by providing tangible actions for students to prepare themselves and their loved ones. When calamities strike, as we are witnessing with ever increasing frequency and intensity, RSE's culture is one of preparedness and sovereignty."

Ramtha is, according to the statement, 35 000 years old and channelled through the body of JZ Knight.

The school says it has been making predictions of Earth changes for decades. But the statement said the it doesn't, as reported, believe the world is going to end in 2012.

"Does RSE believe that the world will end in 2012? No. RSE is already making administrative plans for its school curriculum for 2013 and 2014."

"The emphasis is not on the end of the world, but rather on becoming self-reliant so that in any emergency you can be an asset to your family and community, rather than a liability."

Meanwhile, the Hawks are leading the investigation into the French couple's death.

"We are not sure how the couple died, whether they died from the gun fire that was discharged by police or they committed suicide. This will form part of our forensic investigation," said the Hawk's McIntosh Polela.