They assumed the men were serious about keeping fit.
But when news reached them recently that the property was allegedly used as a training facility and the homeowner, Farhard Hoomer, was linked to terrorist activities, the neighbours were surprised.
“There were always men, about four or five of them, doing push-ups, boxing and even working on the punching bag at the back of the home, but never Farhad,” said a neighbour, who declined to be named.
“We thought it was weird for men to train early every morning, from around 5 am, but we did not think too much of it.”
The neighbour said Hoomer was regarded as a “community person”.
“No one would say that behind the big beard, he could do something like this (be linked to terrorism).”
He said Hoomer had moved into the area two years ago after purchasing the home on auction for R650000.
“He always seemed connected and got homes at a cheaper price. When he moved into the area, he enquired about the community and requested he be placed on the neighbourhood watch’s WhatsApp group.
“However, when he was removed from the group a few months ago, he got very angry.”
Hoomer was allegedly removed after he disconnected the electricity to a security guard hut.
The neighbour said he later became suspicious when a number of cars began lining up on the residential road on Fridays, which is considered an auspicious day for Muslims.
And a week before the police raid, he suspected something was about to go down.
“Men in strange cars, who I now believe was police, began driving through the area and, when the raid happened (on October 5), the police were there from 1 pm to 9 pm. They removed the kidnap victim only at 6 pm. They did it in such a way that they swooped in on three different homes at the same time, so no one could alert the others.”
Another resident said he was “scared” to say too much (to the media), for fear his home could be targeted.
Others in Nugget Road peeped through their windows as the media surveyed the area last Wednesday.
At Hoomer’s home, laundry was hanging outside and the windows were open but the door was closed.
Despite the activity, with a news cameraman filming and photographers snapping pictures, no one from the property stepped outside for almost two hours.