LISTEN | Joshlin Smith case: Woman walks free after charges against her dropped

She had faced kidnapping and human trafficking charges

13 March 2024 - 11:56
By Kim Swartz
Charges against Phumza Sigaqa (in red) were withdrawn on Wednesday.
Image: NPA Charges against Phumza Sigaqa (in red) were withdrawn on Wednesday.

One of four people accused in the case of missing six-year-old Joshlin Smith was released from custody on Wednesday after the state dropped charges of kidnapping and human trafficking against her.

Phumza Sigaqa was initially arrested after one of the other accused alleged she had “bought” Joshlin Smith for R20,000, an accusation she vehemently denied.

"After further investigation, there is at this stage insufficient evidence against accused number four. The investigation continues," National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila told TimesLIVE.

Sigaqa and three other accused, among them Joshlin’s mother Kelly Smith, appeared in the Vredenburg Court on Wednesday, their second court appearance since their arrest last week. The other two accused are Kelly Smith’s boyfriend, Jacquin “Boeta” Appollis, and a close friend, Steveno van Rhyn.


Smith, Appollis and Van Rhyn remain in custody.

All three have abandoned their bail hearing, their legal representatives said on Wednesday.

Saldanha community activist Rev June Dolley-Major said outside court a petition calling on the state to deny bail to the accused had received 18,539 signatures.

Joshlin disappeared after being left in the care of Appollis at the Middlebos informal settlement on February 19 while Kelly went to her part-time job as a domestic worker.

The state said it is waiting on cellphone data analysis, and the case was postponed to May 13 for further investigation.