It’s been almost two weeks since Pretoria News announced the record-breaking ten births by alleged mother Gosiame Sithole. Since then, followers of the story have been taken on a rollercoaster ride of conflicting and suspicious statements and journalistic reports.
Sithole, 37, was reported to have delivered five babies vaginally and five by C-section — which would be the most live births ever.
Here’s a brief timeline and summary:
- 7 June: A Gauteng woman has broken a world record by giving birth to 10 babies
- 10 June: Dad of record-breaking birth, 10 babies, opens up
- 14 June: #Tembisa10 births denied by Mediclinic – cracks of contradiction emerge
- 10 June: ‘Tembisa 10’ mother now a missing person case
- 11 June: Not missing, just mysterious- Mother of ‘Tembisa 10’ reaches out
- 15 June: Confirmed: #Tembisa10 are not real
- 16 June: #Tembisa10 Mother takes her turn to speak up – where is the truth?
- 16 June: #Tembisa10 a ‘cover-up of mammoth proportions,’ says Independent Media
- 18 June: #Tembisa 10: Mother seeks urgent court interdict after psychological evaluation
- 18 June: #Tembisa10: no births recorded, journalistic error suggested
The latest developments have seen the alleged mother taken in for psychiatric evaluation. Sithole was kept at a police station before she was taken to Tembisa Hospital in Ekurhuleni for the exam.
Gaps in Sithole’s story began to appear when Pretoria hospitals denied being part of any record-breaking delivery. Tebogo Tsotetsi, alleged father to the ten new-borns, then released a statement confessing that he had not seen the babies and that the entire debacle is not true.
According to the family’s statement, Tsotetsi had made several attempts to visit Sithole and the babies, but she had failed to disclose her whereabouts and the condition of the babies.
“The current uncertainties and public discourse about the decuplets is of major concern to the family, especially in the absence of any proof of the decuplets existence other than telephonic and WhatsApp messages from the mother,” the statement added.
This statement refuted Tsotetsi’s previous claims that he is grateful that God chose him to be the father to these miracles and that “people will see the babies at the right time.”
Meanwhile, Independent Media has been thrust into the hot seat as demands for the truth rise to a boil. Parent company to Pretoria News, Independent Media declared that the newspaper was victim to an “orchestrated campaign to discredit the story.”
According to Independent Media, the follow-up investigation “has uncovered that the woman who made international headlines when she gave birth to ten children was admitted to the government-owned hospital in Pretoria earlier that day and delivered her babies. It’s unclear what happened to the babies and what their state of health is.”
The South African public, as well as other reputable media houses and persons, have expressed outrage at the lack of evidence behind claims made by Independent Media throughout.
There are many lessons in this for journalism that require introspection and reflection. But… it is also a lesson for the public to be more discerning. Red flags were up immediately and those of us who dared question were abused and berated for doubting.
— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) June 15, 2021
Without evidence, Independent Media went on to allege that “there is an increasing likelihood that there has been extreme medical negligence,” and that “a cover-up of mammoth proportions” has occurred.
In returning to the latest developments, Sithole’s psychiatric evaluation, the 37-year-old’s lawyer said the following to IOL.
“She declined that she should be taken to the Tembisa Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation because she felt strongly that she is of sound mind.
“She then instructed me to accompany her to the Tembisa Hospital. And when we arrived at the hospital, they took her straight to ward 14, the psychiatric ward. They told me that now she was in their custody, they would not be allowing the lawyers and the team of psychologists that she had requested to be present,” Mokoena said.
“When I left Tembisa Hospital, she made it clear that seeing that she is now being held against her will,” the lawyer added.
As per EWN, Sithole was physically examined at the Tembisa Hospital.
“The medical evaluation has shown that there was no pregnancy. It also shows that there are no physical scars to indicate a recent C-section.”
The statement is yet to be confirmed by government officials, however, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said on Friday that the ordeal is nearing an end.
“We have a few loose ends that needed to be sorted out,” Zulu said.
In response to Independent Media’s claims of a cover-up, the Social Development Minister agreed that the allegations are wild but that there is “no smoke without fire.”