Tembisa 10: Gauteng govt is continuing its intention to sue Independent Media

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  • The Gauteng government says it is still pursuing legal action against Independent Media over the so-called "Tembisa 10".  
  • The media group has maintained the babies were born at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital last year. 
  • It claimed the children were trafficked in an elaborate scheme, which included doctors and nurses. 

Independent Media is doubling down on claims that the Tembisa decuplets are real, but the Gauteng government says it is still pursuing a case against the company.

Last year, the media house published a story that a Tembisa woman, Gosiame Sithole, gave birth to 10 babies. It claimed the children were born at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.  

But the Gauteng government and several other private hospitals said there was no evidence of the birth.

An independent, external investigation later found that Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi was "reckless" to publish the story that Sithole had given birth, finding that he had breached Independent Media's code of conduct.

READ | Independent Media internal ombud brands story as 'hoax', wants titles to publish apology

Despite this, the company continued with claims that the alleged babies were trafficked in an elaborate scheme, which included state institutions, nurses, doctors and other health officials.

In October last year, the company released a six-part documentary to push the trafficking narrative.

On Wednesday, the Pretoria News ran a front-page article, in which it named an obstetrician "believed to have been involved in the delivery". 

The paper reported that the doctor operated in Ekurhuleni and was involved in the delivery at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. The doctor told the newspaper he had no idea what it was talking about.

The Health Professions Council of South Africa has confirmed the doctor is registered with the body. 

Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said on Wednesday that they are still pursuing legal action against the company. 

Masebe said: "The state attorney is dealing with the matter. A senior counsel has been briefed and is attending to the matter."

Last year, the provincial government said: "The provincial government cannot stand by while serious allegations are made against nurses, doctors, hospital management and health officials.

These are women and men of integrity, who are working selflessly and honestly every day to save lives and, at times, even risking their own lives.

"The government is duty bound to protect the integrity of all government officials as well as that of public institutions."


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