The Citizen (KZN)

Accused abandon bail


- Cornelia le Roux

Today marks 36 days since six year old was last seen alive in her Middelpos home.

All the accused in the case of the missing six-year-old Saldanha Bay girl, Joshlin Smith, have now dropped their bail bids. Lorentia “Renz” Lombaard, one of the four charged in connection with the disappeara­nce of the Grade 1 Diazville Primary School pupil, withdrew her bail applicatio­n yesterday in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court.

The 32-year-old Middelpos resident faces charges of human traffickin­g and kidnapping, alongside Joshlin’s mother, Raquel “Kelly” Smith, Smith’s boyfriend, Jacquen “Boeta” Appollis, and a close friend of the couple, Steveno van Rhyn.

During mother-of-four Lombaard’s first court appearance on 18 March, state prosecutor Jacques van Zyl revealed in court that she made a confession before her arrest, but no further details of what had been confessed were provided.

On leaving court then, she was confronted by a handful of Middelpos residents who implored Lombaard to “speak the truth”.

To which she simply replied: “I will.”

Today marks 36 days since the little girl with startling green eyes and sunny smile vanished from the Middelpos informal settlement in Diazville on 19 February.

According to Smith, Joshlin was feeling unwell that day, so she thought it best to leave her in the care of her boyfriend at their shack, while she

went off to do an odd job as a domestic worker.

When she returned that evening, she said, Joshlin was nowhere to be found and Appollis told her he lost track of the girl’s whereabout­s after she went outside to play. Lombaard, 23, is said to be a friend and neighbour of Smith, the self-confessed tik user who is held in Pollsmoor Prison and is reportedly pregnant.

Advocate Aradhana Heeramun – who appeared for the state when Smith, Appollis and Van Rhyn were charged on 7 March – alleged that the two men made a confession after a gruelling 36-hour interrogat­ion at Saldanha Police Station.

They reportedly confessed that Smith instructed them to sell Joshlin to another Middelpos man for R20 000 for her body parts to be used for muti.

On 13 March, Smith, Appollis and Van Rhyn withdrew their bail applicatio­ns, while the criminal charges against the then fourth accused, alleged sangoma

Two men made a confession after a 36-hour interrogat­ion

Phumza Sigaqa, were withdrawn due to a lack of evidence.

The trio are set to appear again in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court on 13 May.

According to National Prosecutin­g Agency (NPA) spokespers­on for the Western Cape Eric Ntabazalil­a, investigat­ors must still obtain witness statements and conduct data analysis on the accused’s cellphones.

Police are also apparently waiting for the results of the DNA analysis of bloodstain­ed clothes, a knife and a sheet found in an open field about a kilometre away from Joshlin’s home on 2 March.

Not long after Joshlin went missing, Van Rhyn was interviewe­d prior to his arrest by Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie.

In a TikTok interview, he claimed that he smoked some mandrax with Appollis and a woman – whom he identified as Lombaard – before Smith returned from work.

“We smoked a quarter button. Renz got up and asked Joshlin to check if her other child was still sleeping in another hokkie. She left and then both of them were never seen after that.”

In the interview, he also claimed that Lombaard’s boyfriend was a certain “Ayanda”, whom he alleged was known to be a sangoma.

According to Western Cape police spokespers­on Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Pojie, “police have not ruled out the possibilit­y of more suspects being arrested as the investigat­ion progresses”.

The extensive search operation for Joshlin is still ongoing, with a reward of R250 000 offered for any informatio­n that could assist the police in locating the missing girl.

Anyone with informatio­n on the whereabout­s of the Diazville Primary School pupil can anonymousl­y contact Crime Stop at 08600-10111, or SMS Crime Line on 32211.

 ?? Picture: Facebook ?? INNOCENT. A R250 000 reward has been offered to anyone who can help police find missing six-year-old Joshlin Smith.
Picture: Facebook INNOCENT. A R250 000 reward has been offered to anyone who can help police find missing six-year-old Joshlin Smith.

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