The independent newspaper claims that the South African government is hiding information about what happened to the Tembisa 10 babies, that were born by Gosimane Sithole.
The newspaper said in a statement that they used a private investigator and established the following:
1. Gosiame Thamara Sithole was admitted to Steve Biko Academic Hospital on Monday, June 7, 2021.
2. She was admitted late in the morning and taken to the maternity ward.
3. At 6pm or thereabouts, a group of four doctors and two nurses attended to Sithole.
4. Sithole gave birth to five babies via vaginal delivery. Doctors then proceeded to do a Caesarian section and delivered the remaining five babies.
5. Independent Media can confirm that Sithole was at Steve Biko Academic Hospital from June 7 until Friday June 11.
6. Independent Media can confirm that Sithole was transferred to the lodgers’ section on Thursday. She was not provided with food except for bread and tea in the mornings. She was provided with no medical or psychological assistance.
“This information is corroborated by several independent sources, including staff at Steve Biko Academic Hospital,” the media organisation said.
Independent Media said it would present all evidence and records to law enforcement officials if requested to do so.
“Considering our findings, Independent Media calls for an urgent investigation into the actions and statements of the CEO of Steve Biko Academic Hospital Dr Mathebula; the Gauteng Provincial government, and the Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi with respect to the birth of the decuplets.
“We would like answers from Dr Mathebula, Gauteng Premier Mr David Makhura and Ms Mokgethi to the following questions:
1. Did they know that Gosiame Thamara Sithole was admitted at Steve Biko Academic Hospital on 7 June 2021 and had given birth that evening?
2. Do they have details of the operational set-up for the delivery, and can they share the names of the specialists and doctors who attended to the birth?
3. Can they share details of what extraordinary measures would have been taken to ensure the safety of the mother and the multiple babies?
4. Can they share information about the whereabouts of the doctors who attended the birth?
5. Why did they not disclose that the births did in fact take place at Steve Biko Academic Hospital?
6. What is their response to allegations from staff at Steve Biko Academic Hospital that they were threatened into not revealing any information about the births?
7. What is their response to allegations that the hospital was wholly unprepared for this unprecedented birth?
8. Can they confirm the number of doctors, neonatal staff, paediatricians, that attended the birth to take care of the health of the mother as well as the decuplets?
9. Can they respond to information we have that there were not enough functional incubators at the time of the birth?
10. Can they let us know where the babies are and their state of health?”
Independent Media said it was beyond shocked at the treatment meted out to Sithole.
“She was given no food, no support, no post-natal medical care, and no counselling after an unprecedented birth. Any birth can be difficult, but that of delivering 10 babies is exceptional and should have been suitably prepared for,” they said.
“Worse still, Ms Sithole was pressured by hospital authorities to say she was not at Steve Biko Hospital. Ms Sithole has suffered trauma and shock – physical and psychological – following her treatment at the hands of both hospital and government authorities.”
Independent Media said it calls for full disclosure around these matters and for the hospital to tell the public what has happened to the babies.
“We call on the National Government to take urgent action to determine if there was criminal conduct in covering up the botched clinical care of Ms Sithole and her babies, as it appears that Steve Biko Academic Hospital was not fully prepared for the births, and there is an increasing likelihood that there has been extreme medical negligence.
“We also call on the authorities to protect the mother, as well as our editor Piet Rampedi, who has also been threatened. We believe these threats are due to Mr Rampedi’s reporting on the Gauteng Department of Health, first with the Life Healthcare Esidimeni tragedy, which involved the deaths of 143 people and his subsequent exposure of the PPE scandal, which exposed corruption of billions of rands.
“Further, we are disappointed that other media have so willingly believed the statements issued by the above, without so much as interrogating the facts around the story. The conduct of the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) in particular, shows complicity in what looks to be a major cover-up.
“Instead of looking out for the wellbeing of the mother and the decuplets, they have focused all their attention on discrediting Mr Rampedi and Independent Media. In so doing, they have unquestionably supported what appears to be a cover-up of mammoth proportions.
“We unwaveringly stand by Piet Rampedi and we stand by our story.
The organisation said they have also advised Sithole to get legal counselling and advice so that she can have answers to her questions from Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the Gauteng health authorities.
“The media has a role to play in protecting the vulnerable. We see a young mother, who has been through a traumatic, difficult birth of an unprecedented ten babies, being abused, threatened, and being given the run-around, to hide what looks like a major case of criminal medical negligence.
“The actions of the authorities in this case have embarrassed South Africa. What should have been a joyous moment for Ms Sithole and the entire country, is instead, a story of incompetence, negligence, abuse, and a cover-up.”
Please read the full statement below: