Joshlin Smith case returns to court

13 May 2024 - 07:58
By Kim Swartz
Kelly Smith at a previous court appearance.
Image: NPA Kelly Smith at a previous court appearance.

Four suspects are expected to return to the dock in the Vredenburg magistrate's court on Monday in connection with the disappearance of six-year-old Joshlin Smith.

The girl's mother, Racquel Chantel Smith, known as Kelly, her boyfriend Jacquin "Boeta" Appollis and close friend Steveno van Rhyn are among the accused who face charges of kidnapping and human trafficking.

Smith reported her disappearance from their home at the Middlebos informal settlement in Saldanha Bay on February 19, telling police she left the child in the care of Appollis when she went to work. A search was launched involving police, municipal teams and community organisations. The child has not yet been found.

Phumza Sigaqa was arrested after one of the other accused alleged she had “bought” Joshlin for R20,000, an accusation she denied. The charges against her were later dropped.

"After further investigation there [was] insufficient evidence against accused number four. The investigation continues," National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila told TimesLIVE.

Another woman, 31-year-old Lourentia Lombard, was arrested on March 17 in connection with the child's disappearance.

Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said: "It is normal practice that during such an intricate investigations people of interest will be taken in for questioning or will be interviewed with the aim of solving the case."

Lombard abandoned her bail bid and is expected to return to the dock alongside the child's mother,  Appollis and Van Rhyn.