27 October 2021
DECUPLETS MOTHER MS GOSIAME SITHOLE WAS PREGNANT AND DELIVERED BY CAESARIAN SECTION INVESTIGATION AND REPORT FINDS
- Tembisa 10 mother, Ms Gosiame Sithole, was pregnant despite statements by various government departments that she was never pregnant
- Ms Sithole delivered her babies via Caesarean section as evidenced by a fresh C-section scar attested to by an independent gynaecologist despite statements by various government departments that she never gave birth
- Ms Sithole was illegally detained at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, a mental institution, and was said by the State to be suffering from a mental illness pointing to phantom pregnancy
- Ms Sithole is the victim of a massive cover-up of what appears to be gross medical negligence which underscores the mistreatment of South African women going through the public hospital system in Gauteng
- An ongoing investigation now points to a highly organized human trafficking (baby trafficking) syndicate operating in state hospitals using vulnerable black women to traffic babies primarily to West Africa and overseas which MAY explain the systematic, detailed, and high-level cover-up of the birth.
Cape Town, 27 October 2021 – In a media conference held on Wednesday 27th October, at Newspaper House, Cape Town, Independent Media presented several shocking revelations in connection with the birth and then disappearance, of what has become known as, the “Tembisa 10.”
The revelations are derived from concurrent investigations instituted by the media organisation following question marks about the veracity of a story it published in June on its online platform and print publications that Gauteng woman Gosiame Sithole had given birth to a record-breaking 10 babies (decuplets).
In June 2021, Ms Sithole claimed to have given birth to 10 babies. A world record. Her pregnancy had been followed by Pretoria News editor, Piet Rampedi, who broke the joyful news in an exclusive on 8 June 2021.
What began as a good news story, for a woman who had barely completed Grade 10 at school, quickly morphed into cries of fake news, the unlawful detention of Ms Sithole and the painting of her as someone with deep seated mental health issues who had alternatively faked her pregnancy or had been in such a deep psychosis as to believe she was pregnant, and with many babies at once. Independent Media also did not escape, having its brand and reputation severely tarnished in the process.
Following the public outcry and highly contradictory statements issued by various government departments, officials and hospital personnel, Independent Media instituted a series of investigations. These included its own Press Ombudsman to determine journalistic breach and process by the journalist concerned, one by its internal investigation unit, and the appointment of an external and independent inquiry chaired by Advocate Michael Donen.
The press conference was presented by Dr Iqbal Survé, executive chairman of Independent Media, Advocate Michael Donen, chair of the independent external inquiry and Dr Mpho Pooe, an independent Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, who was tasked with the examination of Ms Sithole post her release from WeskoppiesPsychiatric Hospital.
The press conference referenced a synopsis of the reports from Independent Media’s press ombudsman, Advocate Michael Donen and Dr Mpho Pooe as well as Independent Media’s investigation.
Michael Donen on the journalistic process
On the matter of journalist Piet Rampedi’s breach of Independent Media’s Code of Conduct, Donen states that given the nature of the story, Mr. Rampedi behaved perfectly reasonably in not querying the pregnancy, nor in requiring any further attestation that Ms. Sithole had given birth than the testimony of her partner, supported by WhatsApp messages. However, Donen has also recommended Independent Media bolster its Code of Conduct, to ensure sufficient burden of proof is ascertained in future, noting that this also falls to all other media houses to follow suit.
Whilst making certain recommendations regarding Independent Media’s editorial process, Donen was also struck by several contradictions and concerns in the information that was publicly available.
Advocate Donen concluded that Ms Sithole was pregnant and there could be no doubt of such, as there had been too many witnesses. The real question for Donen, however, was why the State would go to such extreme lengths to detain Ms Sithole in a psychiatric hospital…
Consequently, Independent Media launched a detailed investigation – including the deployment of deep cover operatives. Please see below for Independent Media’s discoveries.
Independent Media’s Press Ombud – The Press Ombud investigated adherence to the Independent Media Press Code in relation to the publication of the decuplets story. The Press Ombud’s findings do not report on the veracity of what happened to Ms Sithole, as that is outside of its mandate.
Independent Media’s Investigations have established the following:
Birth of Decuplets
- Ms Moliehi Maria Sithole – also known as Gosiame Thamara Sithole – was pregnant, had a Caesarean section, and delivered 10 babies.
- On the afternoon of 7 June 2021, she was admitted to Steve Biko Academic Hospital. Later that evening she was taken to a private hospital (Lenmed Zamokuhle Private Hospital), and subsequently to Tembisa Hospital after having had a Caesarean section.
- On the same evening, she and her babies were taken back to Steve Biko Academic Hospital in two ambulances.
- This, Independent Media has been reliably informed, was done with the consent and knowledge of the CEO of Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Dr Mathabula, with then acting CEO of Tembisa Hospital, Dr GladdysBogoshi.
- Independent Media can confirm there were insufficient incubators at Tembisa Hospital and/or Steve Biko Academic Hospital and that the babies were shunted backwards and forwards between Tembisa Hospital and Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, North of Pretoria, under the care of Professor Didi Mawela.
- Doctors and nurses involved at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Tembisa Hospital and Lenmed Zamokuhle Private Hospital, are complicit in the delivery and subsequent cover-up of the birth of these babies.
- There has been gross medical negligence, in that not sufficient doctors were present for these multiple births, with only four doctors in attendance when there should have been at least 25 medical personnel. No working incubators were available and furthermore, that there was a misdiagnosis in that two of the babies who were outside the womb in the fallopian tubes were only discovered during surgery.
- The doctors believed that there were eight babies in the womb based on the scans (in December 2020, Steve Biko Academic Hospital had confirmed six babies and around February 2021, a scan at Sunninghill Hospital then confirmed eight babies. However, when the doctors did the delivery, they confirmed a further two babies in the fallopian tubes).
- Two of the babies died during delivery. The gender of four could not be determined.
- Three obstetricians, all known to Independent Media, were present at the birth along with one paediatrician. All of whom work at prominent private hospitals and at public hospitals such as Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Tembisa Hospital and Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital.
- The CEO of Steve Biko Academic Hospital (Steve Biko Hospital), according to our information, is fully complicit and knowledgeable about the Caesarean section, the birth of the 10 babies, the moving of the babies from Tembisa Hospital to Steve Biko Academic Hospital, the admission of the babies to the Steve Biko neonatal ICU, the request for further incubators from Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, discussions with the CEO of Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, and the despicable attempt to hide the presence of the babies by shunting them between these facilities.
- The failure to provide proper incubators and the desperation to hide the babies, not just from the public and from the mother, put the babies lives at risk and more than likely resulted in the deaths of several babies.
- The mother delivered triplets at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in July 2018. This file, and all physical and electronic records of this pregnancy as well as the entire previous history of this patient, has been taken to the office of the CEO of Steve Biko hospital and is only accessible by him. Independent Media has the file number, which will be provided to law enforcement authorities.
- All details of the triplets at Steve Biko Hospital, as well as all visits of the mother to Steve Biko Hospital, Esangweni Clinic, Alexander Clinic, Tembisa Hospital, and other state hospitals, have been recently removed from the electronic data base.
- Independent Media is in possession of NHL pathology and blood reports which have been tampered with by administrators in the hospital.
- Independent Media is in possession of clinical records confirming the pregnancy of the mother as well as doctors’ certificates confirming the multiple pregnancy of the mother at these state hospitals.
- Ms Sithole saw her babies on 9 and 10 June and thereafter, was told that the babies were taken to a place of safety. Nurses and other personnel at Steve Biko Hospital have confirmed that the babies were moved to the ICU ward at Steve Biko Hospital and after discussion with Prof Mawele, were transported to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital.
- The mother and the father were then denied further access to their babies.
- The identities of the obstetricians involved in the delivery of the babies are known. There is strong evidence to suggest that all these doctors are also involved in the trafficking of babies.
- Independent Media will provide law enforcement authorities with all the information related to these parties.
- It is a trans-country syndicate operating from Gauteng through Mpumalanga to West Africa.
- At this stage, there is sufficient evidence to confirm that the doctors are primarily West African working with a few South Africa doctors, nurses and social workers and politicians, magistrates, and police colonels.
- The syndicate involves hundreds of vulnerable black women who are in some cases given fertility drugs by these obstetricians.
- These babies are harvested for use in ‘muti’, cosmetics, stem cells and in some cases, for adoption of the babies in countries as far as USA and into Europe.
- All evidence suggests that these hospitals are at the epicentre of baby trafficking and syndication. Not only are there doctors and social workers, but there is reasonable proof that senior management are also implicated – if not as actual beneficiaries, certainly in the cover-up.
Sithole’s questionable detainment in a mental institution
In terms of Ms Sithole’s detention and the invoking of the Mental Healthcare Act, there are several breaches of procedure and ethics by the various Departments of Health, social workers and medical personnel concerned.
Advocate Michael Donen and Dr Pooe concur that one of these was the fact that no collateral history was provided by the people close to her, such as members of her family, relatives, neighbours, or people she lived with. Instead, those making the decision, relied on the unproven evidence of a social worker.
Donen went further, explaining that alarm bells had rung for him, with Ms Sithole having been denied access to her attorney, as well as the absence of an independent medical examination by an appropriately qualified independent medical practitioner, nor one by an independent psychiatrist.
In terms of the detainment, Independent Media has established that:
- Ms Sithole was illegally, unlawfully, and criminally detained at Tembisa Hospital, in collusion with a social worker, Ms MogethwaMakate, from the Gauteng department of social development and Tembisa Hospital management.
- Sithole was detained under false pretences and police guard, and informed that she would be released after 48 hours.
- Independent Media has secured evidence, including clinical records from Tembisa Hospital that suggests that doctors colluded to lie about her pregnancy and Ms Sithole’s state of mind. These doctors include psychiatrists who never examined her and who relied on a so-called report from colleagues from Steve Biko Academic Hospital.
- This collusion and gross medical negligence calls for an inquiry into the conduct of the psychiatrists at Tembisa Hospital and the conduct of other medical personnel at Tembisa Hospital.
- As a result of this false and incomplete diagnosis, Ms Sithole was sent to Weskoppies Psychiatric Institution.
- As a result of the efforts of Ms Sithole’s lawyer, Ms RefiloeMokoena, she managed to get the mental health review board to overturn the decision of Tembisa Hospital psychiatrists and released Ms Sithole.
- After her release from Weskoppies, Ms Sithole consented to an examination by an independent medical practitioner, whose findings were presented at the press conference today.
Dr Pooe’s Findings:
- Dr Pooe on examining Ms Sithole on 1 October 2021, some four months after she gave birth, says Sithole was unequivocally pregnant, and had undergone a Caesarean-section recently. This is in direct contrast to the alleged findings of a panel of medical practitioners engaged by Tembisa Hospital.
- Independent Media has managed to access the obstetrician’s clinical records from Tembisa hospital. This is the same obstetrician that works in private practice, at Lenmed Zamokhule Private Hospital and at Tembisa Hospital.
- None of these so-called ‘reports’ have been produced despite numerous requests from the media, Dr Pooe, and Ms Sithole’s own attorney who secured her eventual freedom from incarceration at a mental institution.
- Further supporting Sithole’s claims, Pooe’s own investigations and Independent Media’s efforts, it has been revealed that Ms Sithole’s pregnancy was also confirmed by a private practitioner in February 2021 who booked her off from work. Independent Media and Dr Pooe have had sight of and are in possession of a letter from said doctor referring to her high-risk multiple pregnancy and motivating for Sithole to be booked off work.
- Evidence from Independent Media showed that Ms Sithole attended Steve Biko Hospital and various private hospitals, including Sunninghill, Arwyp Hospital, Carstenhof Hospital – every Tuesday and Thursday – from February 2020, right through until the admission to Steve Biko Hospital on 7 June 2021.
- Independent Media has the dates of each visit, as well as the doctors that she visited at all these hospitals and the nursing sister at Steve Biko who claimed to be a doctor.
- Ms Sithole was initially promised a sponsor at Sunninghill Hospital and was even taken to see colleagues at various private hospitals to showcase, at that time, eight babies in the womb. On four of these occasions, Ms Sithole was accompanied by Pretoria News editor, Piet Rampedi, who arranged transport in his car for Ms Sithole to these hospitals.
- In a video interview, Pooe shared how Sithole’s bloodwork references, noted on her file, were constantly changed on the National Health Laboratory Services’ system, throwing up different patient names with each successive log in and that her Steve Biko file number, although existing and verified, was missing, wiped from everything as though she never existed. Yet, Ms Sithole’s partner received calls from Steve Biko hospital to notify she was being discharged.
- Dr Pooe also confirms that in her professional medical opinion, Ms Sithole did not, and has not, suffered from pseudocyesis (false or phantom pregnancy), as has been intimated. The conclusive evidence of previous multiple births, including twins and triplets, speaks to the fact that Ms Sithole is either a natural hyper-ovulator or has been induced to provoke super ovulation. It should further be noted that Ms Sithole’s triplets have also disappeared.
Independent Media wishes to put on record, that certain members of the South African Government are fully aware that the syndicate has been operating from its hospitals, and that they, together with the department of health and social development were aware that Ms Sithole had delivered the babies and of the botched delivery. According to reliable and credible sources, the MEC of Health of Gauteng Ms NomathembaMokgethi, herself, personally visited the hospitals concerned, soon after the delivery.
All indication is that there is a high level cover up by the National Department of Health, Gauteng Department of Health and the CEOs of the above hospitals acting in collusion to not only hide the truth of what happened to Ms Sithole but also what happened to her babies.
Gauteng Social development MEC and Gauteng MEC for police, according to Independent Media sources, are also fully aware of what happened, as too, the national Department of Health and, GCIS in the presidency.
In summary, Independent Media will provide law enforcement with all the necessary documentation to support the above claims and will be releasing a video documentary series providing details of all of those involved in this sordid saga.
Independent Media calls on the wider media fraternity to also do their homework and help bring those responsible to book.
There can be no doubt that a travesty of justice has occurred, and that Government is culpable in this and in covering up medical negligence. Government is also to blame for how state hospitals are being used as centres for syndicates and covering up that this is extensive throughout Gauteng and at least in one other province.
Social workers, who should be trusted sources of comfort and information, have knowingly and even willingly, participated in criminal acts and have abused the Mental Healthcare Act. They and all the healthcare professionals involved, including the psychiatrist, should be criminally charged and their licenses permanently revoked.
Finally, the question remains – where are the 10 Sithole babies, or what is left of them?
Dr Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman of Independent Media:
“The media has always needed courage to expose the rot in society, politics and the corporate world. Independent Media has been at the forefront of many of these stories such as the CR17 bank statements, the Guptas and their unhealthy relationship with Transnet, PPE corruption, Bushiri and the arrest of senior government officials like the Ace Magashule. We broke them first and despite many loud voices proclaiming otherwise, all were the truth and corroborated as such.
“The decuplets story is no exception. It has taken an enormous amount of time, resources and daring to put together, and in the process of uncovering the truth, we have made many enemies. That will not prevent us from reporting, in fact, quite the opposite. It’s time for the media to apply first principles of journalism and get back to the basics of questioning, digging, and revealing.
“I am proud of what the teams have done, but I am also sickened by what has been discovered. We cannot rest until those responsible are brought to book and I believe there are now sufficient grounds to recommend the Hawks be appointed to investigate the matter further.”
We call upon the doctors and the nurses to be suspended and licences to be revoked, hospital staff involved should be thoroughly investigated, as to what happened to the babies themselves.
Government makes all sorts of statements about gender-based violence (GBV), yet there has been a massive abuse of a vulnerable black woman, and innumerable others like her. This is unquestionably a GBV issue. If Government is serious about addressing this scourge, it will act against all those implicated and immediately. There is no time to waste.
“The role of the department of social development and in particular, the social worker Ms MogethwaMakate, the DSG and the MEC should be immediately investigated and the possible central role that they could be playing in human trafficking.”
“I would like to acknowledge the brave people who believed in Ms Sithole, supported her, and have spoken out, at great risk to their own lives and livelihoods. They include, Ms Sithole’s attorney Refiloe Mokoena, Dr Mpho Pooe, the various investigative units and a string of credible whistle-blowers and informants who have come forward to assist.”
Advocate Michael Donen, Chair of the independent inquiry:
“There exist a substantial number of sources attesting to the pregnancy of Ms. Sithole. No obvious shared motive exists for the sources to dissimulate. On this basis, though subject to revision on the basis of medical evidence (which has not been provided by the state), it is reasonable to suppose that Ms. Sithole’s was pregnant, though not necessarily that she was carrying 10 babies.
“The behaviour of the state in detaining Ms. Sithole, and particularly in preventing her from speaking to her lawyer or being examined by an independent medical practitioner and a psychiatrist, is strange both in the event that she did give birth to decuplets and in the event that her claims were fabricated. It gives cause to consider the possibility that she is being detained in order to prevent her sharing information regarding the alleged birth of the decuplets.
By virtue of their function and duty to investigate and report government wrongdoing to the public, Independent Media should pursue their current investigations into the alleged birth and existence of decuplets, the disappearance of the triplets born to Ms. Sithole at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, and the conduct of state institutions and officials in managing these confusing situations.”
Dr Mpho Pooe, gynaecologist and obstetrician and General Practitioner:
“My findings are scary. This is a woman who has been abused by the system. This a woman who has been taken advantage of. Unethical processes occurred.
“…There is a file number that I have verified with the Department of Health Gauteng belonging to Steve Biko Hospital.
“Gosiame was pregnant, she gave birth recently – there was a new caesarean section scar. There was oozing infection on the scar…this is not an old scar…her tummy was stretched.”
“There is a very serious legal fraud, we need to involve SIU and the Hawks if possible….We should demand justice for this lady.”
Yogas Nair, Independent Media Press Ombud:
“Whilst we can no longer question that Ms Sithole was indeed pregnant and with multiple babies, and Mr Rampedi was correct in his assertion of this, there should be no degrees of diligence in compiling and publishing news reports. Even the most innocuous reports demand care, checks and corroboration. The journalist’s maxim must be that there is no ‘small stuff’. Reports involving subjects and material with no obvious legal risks must meet the tests of accuracy and balance.
This philosophy inculcates attention to detail in all reporters’ methodologies, from the outset of their careers.
“Piet also erred his eagerness and failed to follow standard company procedure.
“Following our own conclusions as a panel and on recommendations from Advocate Donen, Independent Media should henceforth adopt the operational credo of ‘the more eyes and consultation, the better’.
“It is a lesson, I feel, all media should take on board, particularly in this era of fast media, disinformation and misinformation.”
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