The Gauteng provincial government has instructed the state’s lawyers to take legal action against Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi and the Independent Media group over allegations that the administration and its hospitals covered up medical negligence over the alleged birth of the so-called Tembisa decuplets.
Government spokesperson Thabo Masebe yesterday said it had not been established that Gosiame Sithole, the woman alleged to have given birth to the #Tembisa10, was never pregnant in recent times.
Pretoria News earlier this month broke a story, written by Rampedi, in which he alleged that Sithole, 37, had given birth to 10 babies, breaking a world record. The name of the hospital was never disclosed.
While the story immediately caught the attention of both local and international media, it was soon questioned as all Gauteng hospitals denied having records of the births of the babies.
A #NationalBabyShower trended on social media with people pledging their support and gifts for the decuplets. Independent Media owner Iqbal Survé donated R1m to the family but soon after that the alleged babies’ father Teboho Tsotetsi said the family had opened a missing person’s case because they did not know where Sithole was.
He also said there was no evidence that there were 10 babies as he had not seen them and asked the public to stop making donations until Sithole was found.
However, when she reappeared soon after that, she claimed the Tsotetsis never loved her.
Rampedi and Independent Media accused the provincial government of covering up possible medical negligence.
They insisted that Sithole had given birth at Steve Biko Academic Hospital and that the department had to account for what had happened to the babies.
Masebe said yesterday that the government was waging a lawsuit against Ramedi and the media group over the false accusations.
“The Gauteng provincial government is deeply concerned by the conduct of the Independent Media, particularly the editor of the Pretoria News, Mr Piet Rampedi. The provincial government has instructed the state attorney to institute legal action against Mr Rampedi and the Independent Group,” Masebe said.
He said their investigations, which included Sithole’s psychiatric evaluation, had revealed that she had not given birth.
“It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms Sithole did not give birth to any babies in recent times. It has also been established that she was not pregnant in recent times. The Gauteng provincial government will continue to give medical, psychological, and social support to Ms Sithole and provide any counselling she might require,” Masebe said.
Rampedi however insisted that Sithole had been pregnant as her pregnancy “grew in size right before my eyes”.
Masebe said Sithole, who was admitted to the Tembisa Hospital on June 18, will be kept there for the next week for mental observation.
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