Gosiame Thamara Sithole South African woman who claimed giving birth to ten babies was never pregnant according to officials. Legal action brought against media entity who erroneously broke story after suggesting government cover up.
An elaborate ruse that hoodwinked the whole world …& that exposed media practices.
A South African woman who claimed to have given birth to a record 10 babies has been determined to have fabricated her whole story after a local government inquiry said the alleged mother was at no stage ever pregnant.
The Gauteng Provincial Government said Wednesday it had ‘conducted a thorough check with all hospitals’ in the area to ‘establish the veracity’ of Gosiame Thamara Sithole’s claims that she had given birth to decuplets.
‘None of the hospitals in the province, public and private, had any records of such births at their facilities,’ the government said.
When officials finally reached Sithole, 37 — whose own husband could not contact her — she was taken in for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation that was extended by a week, the officials said.
Why did she make up her story?
Follow up medical tests on the women determined at no stage had she ever been pregnant despite the alleged births making world headlines.
Of note, at the time of the said births, authorities could not find any evidence of the existence of the supposed decuplets. No pictures or videos of the newborn babies were made public.
‘It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms Sithole did not give birth to any babies in recent times,’ the government statement added. ‘It has also been established that she was not pregnant in recent times.’
To date it remained unclear why Ms Sithole ever concocted her story.
But there was more to come.
Incensed over allegations by the Pretoria News which first ‘broke’ the story of the alleged ten record births had now gone on to report that the ‘government was trying to cover up medical negligence’ by holding Sithole, the government instructed the State Attorney to institute legal action against the media outlet
‘These allegations are false, unsubstantiated and only serve to tarnish the good reputation of Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the Gauteng Provincial Government,’ the government said in a statement.
Local media faulted
The government said it was ‘deeply concerned by the conduct’ of the media outlet, ‘particularly the Editor of the Pretoria News, Mr. Piet Rampedi,’ who would also be part of the lawsuit.
Rampedi penned an apology to his employees declaring ‘sadness and regret’ over the debunked scoop — admitting his reporting was lax because he was friends with Sithole and trusted her word.
‘I am sorry for the reputational damage the aftermath of the story has caused for the group, the company and my colleagues in general,’ he wrote, according to an email seen by News24.
‘To be blunt, the story provided detractors with an opportunity to cast aspersions on the professional integrity of not only myself, but also my colleagues in the group. For that, I am extremely sorry,’ the statement added.
He said the couple refused to talk to other journalists because they were friends of his, saying that he felt there was ‘nothing to investigate.’
‘They had no reason to lie to me about the pregnancy. For me, it was a story of celebration. Hence, I never demanded documentary proof of the pregnancy, such as scanners and clinic cards, for instance, as I would normally do with an investigative story,’ he wrote, according to News24.
‘However, judging by the sudden turn of events and the reaction from the government and our detractors, I was wrong,’ he admitted.