Updated: June 26, 2021 1:18:17 pm
The claim that a South African woman gave birth to 10 babies earlier this month is not true, a government inquiry has found. The exclusive report by a South African news agency was not true and the woman was not even pregnant, the investigation has revealed.
“None of the hospitals, in the province, public or private, had any records of such births at their facilities,” the government said in a public statement, while adding, “It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms Sithole did not give birth to any babies in recent times. Evidence from the investigation also suggested that the woman was not pregnant in recent times.”
STATEMENT OF THE GAUTENG PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ON THE SO-CALLED “DECUPLETS” pic.twitter.com/b6JVJwdSJp
— GautengGov (@GautengProvince) June 23, 2021
On June 9, reports of 37-year-old Gosiame Sithole allegedly giving birth to 10 babies — 7 boys, 3 girls — had gone viral all across the world. However, as the news broke, the Gauteng provincial government released a statement on the same day questioning the authenticity of the news after failing to find records of birth at any hospital — public or private.
GAUTENG GOVERNMENT RESPONDS TO PUBLIC ENQUIRY ON THE BIRTH OF DECUPLETS pic.twitter.com/BbE7fatchj
— GautengGov (@GautengProvince) June 9, 2021
Phumla Williams, Director General at Government Communication Information System (GCIS), South Africa, had also tweeted, calling out Independent Online (IOL) News, the news agency that broke the story, saying that it might be fake. Piet Rampedi, the journalist who broke the story, also drew criticism online after many accused him of fabricating the news. However, he had refuted all claims.
Following the government inquiry, the journalist responded on June 20 admitting that he couldn’t confirm where Sithole gave birth or the whereabouts of the babies but stuck with the fact that the woman was indeed pregnant at the time.
Correction Ndaedzo. I said I cannot confirm the exact location where Sithole gave birth, and the whereabouts and health status of the babies. However, the woman was pregnant and did give birth. She also took pictures inside Steve Biko last week, and later in the mothers’ section. https://t.co/IMNdvCshUJ
— Mr Putin (@pietrampedi) June 20, 2021
The news organisation also stood by its report, saying the woman had delivered the children on June 7 and alleged that the hospital staff were ill-prepared for the birth. The organisation later accused the hospital and the government health authorities of medical negligence.
The government has denied all allegations in their latest statement, saying they are “false, unsubstantiated and only serve to tarnish the good reputation” of the government and the hospital.
According to IOL, Rampedi interviewed the Sithole and her partner Teboho Tsotetsi, who live in a township near Johannesberg in Gauteng province in May. The couple said they were expecting eight babies and the surprise birth of 10 babies was announced by a report by Rampedi quoting Tsotetsi.
Rampedi received text messages from his partner, confirming the delivery however added that he was not allowed at the hospital because of the covid-19 restrictions. The journalist relied on WhatApp messages and did not get a confirmation from the hospital, a BBC report said.
Gauteng province social workers have now made contact with Sithole and had her admitted to the hospital to determine her state of health.
According to the government statement, Sithole finished her preliminary examination on Monday and would be kept for further evaluation for 7 more days. “The Gauteng provincial government will continue to give medical, psychological, and social support to Ms Sithole and provide any counselling she might require,” said the authorities in the statement.
The statement also hinted at a possible lawsuit against Rampedi and IOL on the matter.
As per a DailyMail report, Rampedi has issued an apology, admitting he should have investigated further.