Independent Media admitted in a statement that their reputation took a beating over the #Tembisa10 story which rocked not only South Africa, but the world. Months of silence have passed while investigations were carried out and today, October 27, the media house held a press conference in Cape Town to present their allegedly “explosive” findings.
This is what was revealed:
*The following information was obtained from a live press conference held by Independent Media on October 27. No evidence was presented to substantiate statements made by the panel.
Executive chairperson Iqbal Survé is the first to speak on the panel, and reveals the alleged findings of the investigation. He says that this conference will be the first of many, and the full story will not be revealed here.
A series, described as “Netflix-like” will be released to the public later on. The release date was not disclosed. According to Survé, it will showcase extensive evidence, from WhatsApp messages to doctors reports. This session specifically, will reveal “shocking evidence” related to the actual birth.
Villains and heroes:
The story of the #Tembisa10 is exceptionally complex. What was made very clear, however, is that Pretoria editor Piet Rampedi did not begin this story with the intent to expose. Gosiame Thamara Sithole’s decuplets was supposed to be a “feel-good story.”
Following the international scandal, Rampedi was removed entirely from this investigation.
“In this case, there have been several concurrent fact finding missions — internally by the editor, the office of Independent Media’s Press Ombudsman, Independent Media’s investigation division, and an independent external investigation, chaired by Advocate Michael Donen,” said IOL in an earlier statement.
Survé emphasised that this investigation was dangerous for all involved. Many journalists and medical professionals received death and other threats.
“There are villains and heroes and heroines in this story. Many of them have been threatened and almost killed.”
The villains, including medical staff, government officials, police and social workers (to name a few) have been described as “rotten apples.”
Over the course of this controversy, Gosiame Thamara Sithole has been the subject of humiliation, manipulation, exploitation and abuse.
“We have a responsibility to report what happened to her because her story is happening to hundreds of other vulnerable, black women in South Africa today,” said Survé. These women are abused by social workers and doctors and others because of their poverty.
“Independent Media is committed to exposing this.”
Exposing the stench:
Independent Media was allegedly threatened by the government for publishing the story of the #Tembisa10. “We ignored all of it.”
According to Survé, “In the end the government went completely silent to all requests for comment. As for the doctors involved, some of them have fled the country.”
She was pregnant:
What is clear from the conference at this stage is that Sithole was bounced between at least four hospitals in Gauteng.
She was initially diagnosed at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH) with six babies in December 2020.
A “protagonist” in this shocking reveal is a Nigerian doctor, who will be revealed in the series, that went by a pseudo name. This doctor seems to be at the core of this web of controversy.
The doctor was said to examine Sithole again, after the initial diagnosis, at Sunninghill Hospital. Here, eight babies were recorded.
A rotten core:
According to Survé, this Nigerian doctor took Sithole from hospital to hospital to showcase her as an example of a “multiple pregnancy.”
The mother-to-be was told that because of her unusual case, she would be granted free medical care at a private hospital to give birth at. The catch? She had to give up her babies for adoption.
Survé made it apparent that there is “unequivocal” evidence to not only prove that she was pregnant and delivered 10 babies, but that a shocking network of criminality is involved in this story.
Was Rampedi collateral damage?
Taxi drivers didn’t want to drive her to hospital visits because she was so big. Survé said that Rampedi took her to these visits himself at least three times. “This is how close he was to [her].”
So, where did Rampedi’s “feel-good story” take a turn for the worst?
Sithole contacted the Nigerian doctor complaining that she had abdominal pain. She was taken to SBAH (there is photo and cell phone location evidence of this) where he then induced her.
This is where things get “explosive.”
Sithole was admitted to Steve Biko Academic Hospital, as well as taken to a private hospital (Lenmed Zamokuhle Private Hospital) and subsequently to Tembisa Hospital.
After being induced, Sithole was then transported to Tembisa Hospital where she gave birth by Caesarean section.
“The delivery did happen, I was there,” says Doctor Mpho Pooe (one of the said “heroines” in this story).
There were 10 babies. Eight were born, however, due to “negligence” two babies died in Sithole’s fallopian tubes. Survé says that there were not enough incubators at this hospital for the babies.
She was taken to see the babies in ICU and described them as “very tiny.”
“The mother was drugged. She didn’t even know she had left Steve Biko Hospital,” adds Survé
She allegedly did give birth to 10 babies.
Independent Media confirmed that the backwards and forwards of the newborn infants between these hospitals as well as Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital did take place.
The missing pieces:
A missing persons report was filed and reported when in fact, Survé says that police were under government instruction to detain Sithole. Without following legal protocol, she was taken to Weskoppies Hospital under the Mental Health Act.
Here, she was told that she would only be released if she denied ever being pregnant or giving birth. According Survé, the MEC of health in Gauteng Nomathemba Mokgethi was involved. It was “hoped” that she would commit suicide here.
Activist lawyer Refilo Makoena was said to have taken on the case, and thereafter Sithole was taken for an independent examination arranged by Independent Media. Following this examination, it has been confirmed that evidence is aligned with the victim having been pregnant and giving birth by C-section.
Previous examinations claiming no birth and mental instability were fabricated.
“All these doctors that are responsible for this should have their licences revoked,” says Survé.
“Our state hospitals are the epicentre of human trafficking,” says Survé.
“We can say this unequivocally that this happens at these four hospitals.”
The government, home affairs and other powerful establishments are all claimed to be involved, according to Independent Media.
From Gauteng to Mpumalanga all the way overseas — the story of the #Tembisa10 is allegedly linked to a web of organised human trafficking in South Africa.
Survé says that 50% of these babies trafficked are put up for adoption, while the other 50% are used for ‘muti’, stem-cell transplants, cosmetics and other things.
Between one to two billion Rand is made every year from this network.
*This a developing story, and evidence is yet to be presented by Independent Media to substantiate any of the claims made today.