Home South African Man ‘implicated’ on social media in Joshlin Smith’s disappearance now in ‘safe...

Man ‘implicated’ on social media in Joshlin Smith’s disappearance now in ‘safe space’

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As false information has spread on social media, one of the people who was initially “implicated” in Joshlin Smith’s disappearance has had his life turned upside down.

Joshlin Smith has been missing since Monday, February 19. Picture: Supplied

SINCE the disappearance of six-year-old Joshlin Smith from Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape, the police and the local mayor have continuously asked those searching for her and social media users not to spread misinformation.

It has been 22 days since the Grade 1 learner from Diazville disappeared without a trace on February 19, just after 5pm.

As residents and members from communities across Cape Town descended on the small town in search of the girl, social media users were allowed to follow all the details as the unfolded “live”.

Concern and desperation grew and as the local police seemed to have dropped the ball during their investigation, members of the public started doing their own investigation, hosting interviews and asking questions about Joshlin’s disappearance.

As false information spread, one of the people who was initially “implicated” online in Joshlin’s disappearance has had his life turned upside down.

The 34-year-old man, who started a local business in the area, is now in a place of safety after he was forcibly removed from his place of business.

The Western Cape MEC for Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen, said a criminal case was being investigated.

“I can confirm that a case has been registered in terms of a 34-year-old man who lost his entire business. His car wash is no longer in existence. He kick-started that business in 2011,” Allen said.

“He was removed from the premises where he worked because false information was spread. The matter is being investigated.

“We would never want any persons ultimately to conduct investigations in that particular way.”

He added that investigators have footage of the incident in their possession.

“I can confirm he is in a safe location provided jointly by the police and the municipality,” Allen said.

Jacquen Appolis, Steven van Rhyn, Raquel “Kelly” Chantel Smith and Phumza Sigaqa appeared in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Patrick Louw, Independent Newspapers

Four people including Joshlin’s mother, Kelly Smith, her boyfriend Jacquen Appollis, Stevano van Rhyn and Phumza Sigaqa appeared in the Vredenberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, March 7.

The quartet faces charges of trafficking in persons and kidnapping. They have officially applied for legal aid.

On Tuesday, March 5, a source revealed to IOL that a suspect had been arrested after a confession. The suspect is understood to have told the police that Joshlin was sold to a woman for around R20,000.

The suspect, who is understood to be close to Joshlin, is one of the four arrested persons.

The group is expected back in court on Wednesday, March 13.

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