Gayton McKenzie in hot water for giving Joshlin Smith’s mother cash, cellphone and covering hotel expenses

A contentious situation has emerged surrounding the investigation into the disappearance of six-year-old Joshlin Smith, with Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie facing criticism for his involvement in the case.

McKenzie acknowledged providing financial support to Kelly Smith, Joshlin’s mother and a key suspect in the matter, sparking accusations of political manipulation.

The move by McKenzie to donate cash, purchase a cellphone, and cover hotel expenses for Kelly Smith has drawn condemnation, with critics labeling him as “morally corrupt” and accused of exploiting the situation for “cheap political points.”

McKenzie’s actions have raised concerns of interference with the official police investigation, prompting allegations of running a parallel inquiry due to perceived police inefficiency.

Joshlin went missing on February 19 while under the care of Kelly’s boyfriend, Jacquen “Boeta” Appollis, in a small shack in a Saldanha informal settlement.

Kelly, Appollis, and two others have been charged with kidnapping and human trafficking, with the search for Joshlin ongoing.

Bianca van Aswegen from Missing Children South Africa expressed dismay over the misinformation and sensationalism surrounding the case, believing it has diverted attention from Joshlin and hindered the investigation.

“I’ve never seen a case like Joshlin’s case. There has been so much hype and false information and it took the attention away from Joshlin. It is terrible and has hampered the investigation … I think this was because of social media and politicians getting involved. Is it because they want to get votes?”

ANC councillor Theresa Le Roux-Rossouw criticized McKenzie’s involvement, accusing him of politicizing the tragedy and undermining police efforts.

“This same individual by his own hand admitted giving the mother money, paid for her hotel stay, took her to restaurants, took her shopping, et cetera according to himself to catch her out, yet anyone who read his updates and statuses will see that is conflicting to his initial responses.”

Le Roux-Rossouw highlighted conflicting statements made by McKenzie regarding his interactions with Kelly and questioned his motives.

While acknowledging community support, she emphasized the importance of respecting legal processes and refraining from taking matters into one’s own hands.

The case has sparked a debate over political interference, ethical conduct, and the impact on the search for Joshlin.
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