Association expresses concerns about children going missing in SA

Joshlin Smith. Picture: Social Media

Joshlin Smith. Picture: Social Media

Published Mar 12, 2024


Martlé Keyter, CEO of operations at the Motor Industry Staff Association (Misa), has voiced concerns about the number of children who go missing daily in South Africa, highlighting that every case of kidnapping should receive the serious consideration and swift action it needs.

Keyter reports that there are five unaccounted-for children in the Western Cape; among them is Joshlin Smith, 6, who disappeared from Saldanha Bay a few weeks ago.

He calls for commitment from the police and media, not only for Joshlin but for other missing children as well, stating that a child’s best interests are of utmost importance in any matter involving children.

“What about all the other Joshlins out there? Misa is horrified that more than 1 300 children are kidnapped in South Africa a month, according to Missing Children South Africa. The country is ranked 7th in kidnappings worldwide, with most victims being women and children. South Africa has been declared a human trafficking hub.”

He also revealed that several police officers and prosecutors have acknowledged to Misa that they lack the resources and knowledge necessary to properly investigate crimes, much less fight them and prevent them from happening in the first place.

“When there is a case like the one of Joshlin, all the other police stations are expected to send manpower to assist with the operation. But the same happens when they need to clamp down on illegal building occupations or uproot illegal zama-zamas.

“The SAPS shed more than 8 000 detectives in six years, according to statistics in Parliament last year. They simply can’t keep up to replace the expertise and manpower,” said Keyter.

According to 2023/2024 SAPS crime statistics, between July and September there were an alarming 4 300 reported kidnapping cases, while 293 children and 881 women were murdered in the last quarter of 2023.

More than 16 000 victims are kidnapped annually, according to Statistics South Africa.

“According to our Constitution, a child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child. We must see the same dedication from the police and media in the search, not only for Joshlin but also for the other four missing children in the province and in the country. If not, something is terribly wrong,” said Keyter.

The Star