The Gauteng provincial government has decided to go the legal route against Independent Media Group and Pretoria News editor, Piet Rampedi, for the sensationalised reporting of the so-called “Tembisa 10” saga.
This follows the furore around Rampedi’s story recently, which captured local and international attention, with the newspaper claiming that a woman, Gosiame Sithole, had given birth to decuplets and, as a result, had broken a world record.
The Gauteng government has maintained its stance yet again that there was no record of the delivery of decuplets at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital or any other in the province.
ALSO READ: Tembisa 10 saga: when words fail journalism
In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, the provincial government said it had “instructed the state attorney to institute legal action against Mr Rampedi and the Independent Group”.
“These allegations are false, unsubstantiated and only serve to tarnish the good reputation of Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the Gauteng provincial government.”
Gosiamo #Sithole responds to the Tsotetsi family statement. She denies she’s missing, and that did not deliver the babies. She says the was released after the Tsotetsis met some politicians. Says they are angry because they wanted to benefit financially from the public donations. pic.twitter.com/YCNs14ezYC
— Mr Putin (@pietrampedi) June 15, 2021
Sithole’s ‘state of health’
The provincial government said Sithole was taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation and it was concluded that she did not give birth to any babies recently.
“Ms Sithole was admitted to Tembisa hospital on 18 June 2021, and various medical tests were conducted on her to determine her state of health. Initially, she was meant to be kept at the hospital for 72 hours, which lapsed on Tuesday, 22 June 2021.
“Upon completing their preliminary examination on Monday, 21 June 2021, her doctors recommended that she be kept at the hospital for a further seven days for further observation, in accordance with the Mental Healthcare Act.
“It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms Sithole did not give birth to any babies in recent times. It has also been established that she was not pregnant in recent times.
“The Gauteng provincial government will continue to give medical, psychological and social support to Ms Sithole and provide any counselling she might require.”
Earlier this week, Rampedi penned an apology to employees for the backlash that emanated from the story.
In an email sent to Independent Media’s editor-in-chief, Aneez Salie, Rampedi said he was full of “sadness and regret”, but stood by the fact that Sithole was pregnant and gave birth.
The Pretoria News editor said although he stood by Sithole, he could have done more to verify some of the facts in the story.
He further said he knew the couple and had no reason to doubt them.
Additional reporting by News24 Wire