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Cape Town - He woke up with a blade pointed at his face and three balaclava-clad men standing around his bed, all with knives in their hands.
It was 12.30am on January 8, and Brendhan Kannemeyer had been fast asleep in his Noordhoek home when he was woken by his bedside lamps being switched on.
“I asked my wife why the lights were on,” he said. “But then I saw these men standing there.”
His wife was not in the room - she had fallen asleep in their sons’ room just down the passage after checking on their youngest boy.
Kannemeyer reached for his gun, which he kept under his mattress, but then saw one of the men was already pointing it at him.
“They started cutting my duvet into strips and they tied me up violently,” he said. “I realised there was no option of fight or flight so I started to reason with them.”
He begged the men: “Leave my wife, just leave my boys. I’ll take you to the safe.”
Kannemeyer said he wanted them to go as quickly as possible, to avoid having his wife or one of his three sons walk in on them.
But the three seemed to be in no hurry, and casually split the contents of the safe and his wife’s jewellery between themselves before locking Kannemeyer into the bathroom and leaving the house. “I’m just relieved nothing happened to my family,” he said.
Noordhoek has been hit by a spate of home invasions in recent months. Muizenberg police confirmed that there had been four such incidents in the past two months.
“They sneak into the house, if there’s a gun, they find it, and they always leave with money and jewellery,” said Kannemeyer. “This has happened to five people near me.”
Residents have begun to refer to the criminals as “The Balaclava Gang” and Kannemeyer said that local neighbourhood watch meetings were filled with stories of the gang’s exploits.
“It has become a real problem, this is no longer a neighbourhood where you can leave your doors open,” he said.