South African Mother Accused Of Kidnapping Her Daughter Drops Bail Plea


The mother of a missing six-year-old girl, who has been charged with trafficking and kidnapping in South Africa, has abandoned her bail request.

Kelly Smith, boyfriend Jacquen Appollis and another suspect have all withdrawn their efforts to be freed on bail.

Angry crowds gathered outside the court, threatening the trio with violence if they were released.

The case has gripped South Africa since Joslin disappeared outside her home in Saldanha Bay near Cape Town last month.

During Wednesday’s court appearance, Phumza Sigaqa, one of the four originally accused of being involved in the disappearance of Joslin, had her charges dropped because of a lack of evidence.

Local media have called Ms Sigaga a traditional healer or “sangoma”.

In a widely condemned practice, some traditional healers use body parts to make potions, claiming they can cure people of illnesses or improve their fortunes.

Before her charges were dropped, prosecutors alleged that Ms Smith had instructed Mr Appollis and another of the accused, Stefano van Rhyn, to sell Joslin to a traditional healer for 20,000 rand ($1,000; £835), according to the privately owned Citizen newspaper.

But prosecutors say there is no evidence at this stage that she is involved with the disappearance of the child.

Many protesters outside the courtroom welcomed this as they felt she had been used as a scapegoat, the AFP news agency reports. Some shouted Freee Phumza!” and held placards with a similar sentiment.

The atmosphere outside the court was tense as heavily armed police had to stop the crowd from entering Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court with barred wires and teargas, AFP reports.

Residents attempted to throw stones at the police, according to the News24 website.

The disappearance of Joslin has left people thirsty for justice and answers.

The young girl, who went missing on 19 February, has not yet been found despite the search involving drones, the navy and sniffer dogs.

Bloodied clothes were recently found in an open field and the police have taken them for DNA testing.

Ms Smith had previously told the local publication The Daily Voice that she had not given up hope of finding her daughter.

“My motherly instincts are telling me my daughter is still alive and in this area. We will find her, I will walk on foot to find her. I will look in every little shack, I’m going to do it by myself if I have to.”

Joslin was left in the care of Ms Smith’s boyfriend before she went missing. He has denied any involvement.