News / South Africa

Earl Coetzee
Premium News Editor
6 minute read
27 Oct 2021
1:02 pm

Independent’s decuplet baby smuggling claims ‘false rumour mongering’ – hospital

Earl Coetzee

Human trafficking, illegal detention, and a grand baby smuggling conspiracy have been claimed, but you have to tune into Indy every week for evidence.

Advocate Michael Donen said 'Pretoria News' was reckless when it published the story saying Gosiame Sithole had given birth to 10 babies. Picture: Twitter/PietRampedi

Independent Media Group’s boss Iqbal Survé held a bizarre media briefing on Wednesday, where they made claims of a grand human trafficking conspiracy involving doctors, social workers, government and anyone else who has ever demanded a shred of proof of the (in)famous Tembisa 10’s existence.

Survé accused government hospitals of being the “epicentre” of human trafficking, and powerful politicians of threatening all doctors, nurses, and staff who thought of exposing these activities with legal action, and having their careers destroyed.

Steve Biko hospital and others, as well as government departments are allegedly part of a human-trafficking ring that exploits vulnerable patients, especially vulnerable black women, Survé claimed.

Babies are supposedly used for muti, cosmetic purposes and stem cell research.

Still no sign of the babies

According to Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi’s original decuplets story, the babies were supposedly born at the Steve Biko Hospital.

During the Wednesday briefing, however, it turns out they were either born at the Zamokuhle Private Hospital or the Tembisa Hospital, after having the birth induced, and before being transported to the the Steve Biko Hospital, under the care of a strange doctor, who “goes by multiple pseudonyms” in June this year. All very clear…

At the time, Rampedi announced the birth as a Guinness World Record, but Guinness have also questioned this claim, since they have neither verified the birth, nor seen the babies.

The decuplets have yet to make a public appearance, while even their relatives have since questioned their existence. Now the babies have apparently been stolen and made to disappear, with the help of police, social workers and a shadowy network worthy of a Q-anon conspiracy.

Provincial and national health officials have also not yet been able to verify the record-breaking birth.

The purported mother, Gosiame Sithole, meanwhile, had been admitted to a psychiatric facility for observation, while Pretoria News and its owner Independent Media at first vociferously defended the story, before launching an investigation into their own investigation.

ALSO READ: Decuplets ‘mom’ turns out to be 48 years old – report

Disinformation, human trafficking, and a mysterious Nigerian doctor

On Wednesday morning, Survé and Rampedi revealed the findings of said investigation, which was led by respected advocate Michael Donen SC, and instead of clearing up the confusion, it raised even more questions, which will supposedly be answered in an upcoming “Netflix-style” TV series.

At the centre of the controversy, and hundreds of alleged similar incidents, is a Nigerian doctor whose name will only be revealed in the upcoming series.

The group made explosive claims of child trafficking and baby smuggling, which the hospital group where the babies were supposedly born have promptly denied.

They also claimed that instead of 10 live babies, only eight of the babies were born alive, while two died, as they were supposedly located in their mother’s fallopian tubes. How the remaining eight babies and the mother managed to survive a deadly ectopic pregnancy and continue developing up to 28 weeks was not explained.

Dr Mpho Pooe, a Tshwane-based doctor who claimed to have examined Sithole after birth, later said that the alleged two babies who were in the fallopian tubes was medically impossible, and she believes it is only something told to Sithole as part of the conspiracy.

Ectopic pregnancies are life-threatening and generally rupture between six and 16 weeks in normal pregnancies, and there is currently no way to save a foetus. These pregnancies are aborted in order to save the mother’s life.

Sithole was reportedly never told two of the 10 babies died at birth.

Independent Media claims they were allegedly threatened “repeatedly” by government not to publish the story. A nurse who took a photo of the babies allegedly had her phone smashed and is still suspended. She was reportedly threatened by the human trafficking syndicate.

They claim to have evidence of all their claims, including telephone recordings and messages. All of these will, of course, also be revealed in the upcoming TV series, along with the identity of a social worker who had Sithole committed illegally and her twins removed from her custody.

They claim Sithole was committed with those responsible for the saga hoping she would commit suicide. She was apparently forced to deny that she was ever pregnant, and that she never delivered her babies before she was released.

She was never in any of our hospitals, say Lenmed

Owners of the Zamokuhle Private Hospital, Lenmed Hospital Group, had pre-empted Wednesday morning’s briefing by sending out a statement calling Independent’s claims “unsubstantiated and baseless”.

“Lenmed reiterates that Ms Gosiame Sithole did not give birth to decuplets at any of its facilities in June this year,” the hospital said. “In fact, the hospital group has no record of Ms Sithole giving birth at any of our facilities.”

The group says Lenmed protocol stipulates that the responsible doctors inform the hospital of planned multiple births well in advance, to ensure that there are sufficient ventilators and oscillators available. 

“Multiple births are an extraordinary event and our attending obstetricians inform the hospital well in advance of the number of expected neonates, as the delivery can be expected any time after the 24th week of pregnancy depending on the number of babies expected,” said Dr Nilesh Patel, group chief medical officer, in the statement.

They say that newborns in multiple pregnancies are generally premature and many require intensive care after birth. This would require multiple neo-natal nurses and paediatricians, and plenty of equipment to ensure the survival of the babies.

Patel said this would have likely prompted them to refer the expectant mother to a facility more capable of dealing with such births.

Also Read: Buckle up! We fell down the White Spiritual Boy Trust rabbit hole

“An exercise of this nature would generally require the services of an academic hospital which has the necessary resources to deliver multiple neonates. Had one of our patients at Zamokuhle Private Hospital in Tembisa been expecting more than two neonates, Zamokuhle would have instituted alternative arrangements.”

Amil Devchand, CEO of Lenmed, said no hospital in the group had ever delivered more than triplets, while dismissing the allegations that they were involved in a baby smuggling ring as “false rumour mongering and an attempt by some to peddle fabricated information”.

“We have detailed, secure and verified records of all births at our facilities. No one by that name [Gosiame Sithole] has given birth, nor have there been any multiple births at the hospital during that time.”

Tune in every week to find out more

Survé revealed that the full details of what happened would be released in 15-minute episodes over the coming 12 weeks, which would be available online and in Independent Media publications. 

All WhatsApp messages, video and audio recordings, and relevant supporting documents would be included.

“For us, it’s about protecting all the vulnerable women in our society.”

The full briefing and updates on the saga can be found below: