Cabinet hopes for safe return of Joshlin Smith

Minister Small Enterprises Khumbudzo Ntshavheni briefs the media at GCIS in Hatfield. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Minister Small Enterprises Khumbudzo Ntshavheni briefs the media at GCIS in Hatfield. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 14, 2024


Minister in the Presidency responsible for State Security Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has urged communities with information on the missing six-year-old Joshlin Smith to give it to the police.

She also called on communities to report cases of many other missing children who have not be found.

Ntshavheni said on Thursday Cabinet welcomed the arrest of suspects linked to the disappearance of Joshlin Smith.

The Cabinet said it cannot be that 30 years into democracy there were children who go missing and the scourge of gender-based violence was high in the country.

“Cabinet applauded the police and the community of Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape for the arrest of suspects in connection with the missing of six-year-old Joshlin Smith,” said Ntshavheni.

“Cabinet joins the nation in prayer and efforts for the safe return of many other children who have gone missing in the recent past. Cabinet calls on persons with information on all missing children to contact their nearest police station.”

Joshlin, a Grade 1 learner from Diazville in Saldanha Bay, disappeared on February 19, just after 5pm.

She said the nation must fight against gender-based violence. People in various communities must work with the police and other law enforcement agencies to help them find missing children.

Many children who have gone missing have not been found. The best way of dealing with this issue is collaboration between communities and the police.

“It simply cannot be that 30 years into our democracy women and children live in fear of being the next victim. This damning situation goes against the founding values of our Constitutional democracy, which is built on human rights, human dignity and equality for all,” she said.

“Cabinet expressed concern about the safety of children following the recent cases of child kidnappings in different parts of the country,” said Ntshavheni.

“Parents and caregivers must give extra vigilant care regarding the safety and whereabouts of children in their care and should educate children about general safety precautions. Communities are urged to assist in taking care of children.”

The case of Joshlin should serve as a reminder that all children must be protected by parents and their caregivers, she said.

On Wednesday, Joshlin’s mother, Kelly Smith, her boyfriend Jacquen Appollis, Stevano van Rhyn, and alleged sangoma Phumza Sigaqa made their second court appearance.

The State withdrew its charges against Sigaqa, while Smith, Appollis and Van Rhyn all abandoned bail. The trio face charges of trafficking in persons and kidnapping. The court case has been postponed until May 13.

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