Owner of the crèche, Gaironiesa Abrahams, was filmed allegedly smacking a child. Screengrab

Cape Town - Residents living next to a Mitchells Plain crèche, where the owner was allegedly caught on film smacking toddlers and making them eat their own vomit, have drawn up a petition to have the daycare closed down.

Meanwhile, the former teacher who exposed Gaironiesa Abrahams, the owner of Darul Ghair Islamic Based Educare Centre in Portland, says she has been threatened and harassed since the article appeared in the Daily Voice.

Read: 'Crèche from hell': Owner allegedly caught smacking two children on camera

A resident, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, says the petition has been on the cards for a while.

“We have been wanting to start a petition for ages, but the article in the Daily Voice spurred us on. We are about 25 to 30 residents who are just gatvol (fed up),” she says.

“The reason for the petition was also because the crèche has only one entrance and exit point. What if there’s an emergency?

“There is no play area for all those children. When one walks past the house, you will constantly hear a baby crying.

Former teacher, Joanne Tabanie's message to  Gaironiesa Abrahams. Screengrab

“She is not a nice person and people need to stand up as the people who spoke out are now being harassed by her and her colleagues. This crèche needs to be closed down!”

Former teacher, Joanne Tabanie, who filmed Abrahams allegedly hitting two children and forcing another child to eat his own vomit, says she is being harassed, and also wanted to clear misconceptions in the community that Abrahams had fired her.

“I was not fired. I resigned. I could no longer take what was happening at that crèche. I sent Gaironiesa a WhatsApp message on 7 October explaining why I was leaving. She responded by saying ek hou my vermakerag (She responded by saying I was being spiteful),” Tabanie explains.

She’s been receiving messages from unknown mense, accusing her of lying.

Picture: Daily Voice

In one message, a photo of faeces was sent to her, and the message: “This is for you and I curse you, you will one day pay for the lies that you spread on media about kids being abused....the devil will take your soul and you will go to hell.” [sic]

Neither Tabanie nor any of the parents or residents have laid any charges with police yet.

The Daily Voice also contacted Abrahams, who said: “This matter will go to court and it will be sorted at court. I will take it from there. For now I have nothing to say.”

Sihle Ngobese, the spokesman for Social Development MEC Albert Fritz, previously said an investigation would be launched into the matter.