South African 10 Babies Story Is False, Inquiry Finds
An official inquiry into the report that a South African woman Gosiame Thamara Sithole gave birth to 10 babies earlier this month has found the claim to be false.
According to a statement by the Gauteng Provincial Government, no hospitals in Gauteng province have a record of decuplets being born.
The statement added that medical tests show that Ms Sithole had not even been pregnant recently.
The story of the “world’s first decuplets” took over the international media space earlier this month after Pretoria News reported that Sithole, 37, who is already a mother of twins, gave birth to seven boys and three girls by Caesarean section at a hospital in Pretoria.
The 10 babies claim was however shrouded in mystery as the babies nor their mother made any public appearance, save for the father Tebogo Tsotetsi who was quoted by the newspaper as saying, “It’s seven boys and three girls. she was seven months and seven days pregnant. I am happy. I am emotional.”
Tsotetsi, however backtracked on his claim saying the babies do not exist, according to a statement he released last week.
Tsotetsi confirmed that he “has not seen the decuplets and relied on his girlfriend who called to inform him of their birth.”
He said he made several attempts to visit his girlfriend and the babies but she failed to disclose her whereabouts and the condition of their babies.
Government officials finally reached Sithole and she was admitted to Tembisa hospital on 18 June 2021, for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation. Upon completing their preliminary examination on Monday, 21 June 2021, her doctors recommended that she be kept at the hospital for a further 7 days for further observation, in accordance with the Mental Healthcare Act, the Gauteng Provincial Government said in its statement.
“It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms Sithole did not give birth to any babies in recent times,” the statement revealed.
“It has also been established that she was not pregnant in recent times.”
Sithole is now being held under the mental health act for observation and will be provided with support.
Meanwhile, the government said it “instructed the State Attorney to institute legal action” against Pretoria News over a follow-up story that suggested the “government was trying to cover up medical negligence” by holding Sithole.
“These allegations are false, unsubstantiated and only serve to tarnish the good reputation of Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the Gauteng Provincial Government,” the statement said.
The government added that it was “deeply concerned by the conduct” of the paper, “particularly the Editor of the Pretoria News, Mr. Piet Rampedi,” who would also be part of the lawsuit.
Rampedi wrote an apology to his employees declaring “sadness and regret” over the debunked scoop — admitting his reporting was lax because he was friends with Sithole and trusted her word.
“I am sorry for the reputational damage the aftermath of the story has caused for the group, the company and my colleagues in general,” he wrote, according to an email seen by News24.
“To be blunt, the story provided detractors with an opportunity to cast aspersions on the professional integrity of not only myself, but also my colleagues in the group. For that, I am extremely sorry,” he reportedly wrote.
He said the couple refused to talk to other journalists because they were friends of his, saying that he felt there was “nothing to investigate.”
“They had no reason to lie to me about the pregnancy. For me, it was a story of celebration. Hence, I never demanded documentary proof of the pregnancy, such as scanners and clinic cards, for instance, as I would normally do with an investigative story,” he wrote, according to News24.
“However, judging by the sudden turn of events and the reaction from the government and our detractors, I was wrong,” he admitted.