Both alleged sangoma Phumza Sigaqa and Middelpos’s ‘real’ sangoma have been dragged into the case of the disappearance of Joslin Smith.

Many shock twists and turns have surfaced in the gripping case of the disappearance of Joslin Smith since the six-year-old girl went missing three weeks ago from her Saldanha home in Middelpos informal settlement.

These include the arrest and appearance of alleged sangoma Phumza Sigaqa alongside Joslin’s mother, Racquel “Kelly” Smith, her boyfriend Jacquin “Boeta” Appollis and Steveno van Rhyn in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 7 March.

Mom Kelly accused of ‘giving instructions to sell’ Joslin

joslin smith court missing girl sangoma
The four suspects in the Joslin Smith disappearance case appear in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court on 7 March 2024. They are, from left, Jacquin ‘Boeta’ Appollis, Steveno van Rhyn, Racquel ‘Kelly’ Smith and Phumza Sigaqa. Photo: Twitter @SAPoliceService

The four accused were charged with human trafficking and kidnapping. This after Appollis and Van Rhyn allegedly confessed during a 36-hour-long interrogation session that they sold Joslin for R20 000 for muti.

The state alleges that Kelly – who has been remanded until 13 March with Sigaqa at Pollsmoor Prison – masterminded the plan to sell her daughter.

ALSO READ: Two men claim in grim confession they sold Joslin Smith for muti

Husband of alleged sangoma claims police tortured her

Sigaqa’s husband, Silindokuhle Bekameva, insisted on his wife’s innocence in an interview with IOL. He also claimed that the police tortured her when she was arrested last week Tuesday.

I witnessed them torture her, putting a plastic bag over her head. My children are traumatised after the whole ordeal.

“My wife had nothing to do with this case, she is not friends with Kelly, she isn’t a sangoma and has never been one, she was never arrested for anything,” Bekameya said.

  • These allegations could however not been confirmed at the time of publication.

‘Those people sold the child for muti’

Patriotic Alliance (PA) councillor Vernon Vraagom told Rapport that he went to pick up Van Rhyn from his home on Saturday, 2 March after he heard the police were looking for him.

“When he got into my car, I asked him ‘Young man, what’s going on?’ He then told me: ‘Mr V, those people sold the child for muti.”

Vraagom said he then dropped Van Rhyn off at the Saldanha Police Station to do a polygraph test.

ALSO READ: Polygraph tests and chilling confessions: ‘Kelly would never sell Joslin for money’

Appollis, Van Rhyn smoking buttons before Joslin goes missing

In a Facebook Live confession with Gayton McKenzie before his arrest, Van Rhyn told the PA leader there were three grown-ups – Appollis, a woman and himself – in the shack with Joslin before she mysteriously vanished.

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

This statement, coupled with other evidence, led to Van Rhyn being taken into police custody for a second round of questioning last Tuesday, followed by his arrest.

Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton McKenzie, left, and Kelly Smith, the mother of the missing Joslin, and her boyfriend, Jacquin ‘Boeta’ Appollis. Photos via Facebook/ Gayton McKenzie

Neighbour does not believe Sigaqa is sangoma

Sigaqa has been accused of being the sangoma to whom Joslin was allegedly sold for muti, with Netwerk24 reporting the day before her court appearance that various West Coast sources claim the sangoma could be the key to unlocking the whereabouts of the green-eyed girl.

However, not all the residents of Middelpos are convinced of Sigaqa’s involvement.

One of the alleged sangoma’s neighbours told Rapport that it was Kelly who allegedly identified Sigaqa as one of the suspects.

This after the police swooped on Saldanha Bay’s Hoedjiesbaai Hotel where the self-confessed tik user and her boyfriend of two years were hiding from enraged community members with help from a benefactor.

The neighbour told the publication that she is convinced that Sigaqa did not play any role in Joslin’s disappearance.

ALSO READ: Western Cape’s missing girls: What about all the other Joslin Smiths out there?

Police raid known Middelpos sangoma’s house

On Wednesday – a day after Sigaca’s arrest – the public order policing unit detectives attached to the provincial branch, as well as K9 unit members, raided the home of Alungile Ngqomorha – the only known sangoma in Middelpos.

Shortly before the raid, Ngqomorha told Rapport that in his 12 years as a sangoma he had never used human body parts for muti.

Ngqomorha, whose house has already been searched three times by the police, denied any involvement in Joslin’s disappearance.

The police raided Ngqomorha’s neighbours’ homes as well.

‘There is a port here’

joslin smith missing girl
Green-eyed Joslin Smith went missing in Middelpos, Diazville, in Saldanha, on 19 February. Photo via X/ @Am_Blujay

Reverend June Dolley-Major, an activist who has also taken part in the extensive and still ongoing search operation for the Grade 1 Diazville Primary School pupil, told City Press there could be truth in the state’s claim that Joslin had been sold for muti.

“There is a port here so a person can be smuggled in and out quickly. I said she might be in Saldanha Bay or across the borders. She is a beautiful girl ­– especially her eyes – which can be used for muti. We also know that people with money want to buy a child with a certain appearance.”

Petition to deny bail… and more arrests?

Last week, Western Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa stated that with the investigation gaining momentum, more arrests could be on the cards.

  • At the time of publishing, a Change.org petition calling on the court to deny bail to the suspects in Joslin Smith’s trafficking case, has garnered about 15 028 signatures.

NOW READ: Muti murders in SA: Has Joslin Smith fallen prey to ‘occult economy’?


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