'Tembisa 10': Health dept insists there is no record of babies, suggests 'journalistic error'

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The health department has repeated that there is no record in Gauteng of the delivery of decuplets. (Getty)
The health department has repeated that there is no record in Gauteng of the delivery of decuplets. (Getty)
  • The national health department maintains there is no record of the delivery of 10 babies.
  • The department has rejected allegations of an alleged "cover-up".
  • The mother of the 'Tembisa 10' was taken in for psychiatric evaluation, according to her lawyer.


The national Department of Health has maintained it has no record of the delivery of decuplets in Gauteng and that the alleged "cover-up" by health authorities was more likely a "journalistic error". 

"It cannot be that 10 or eight babies are born and that no evidence of their whereabouts or existence can be established," said spokesperson Popo Maja in a statement on Friday. 

FRIDAY BRIEFING | Tembisa 10: Anatomy of fake news

"Given the magnitude of the allegations, we invite Independent Media, which has insinuated wrongdoing on the part of health professionals and the government, to assist Ms [Gosiame Thamara] Sithole to pursue a complaint with the Health Ombudsman for the alleged mistreatment of the patient at any health facility."

This comes after IOL published a story on Thursday, alleging that the denial of the birth of the decuplets were part of a "campaign to cover up medical negligence that involved senior politicians and public servants".

The department said it noted, with dismay and disappointment, the allegations made by Independent Media against the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, which is "one of our best hospitals in the country".

"We have taken these allegations made against the government and healthcare professionals very seriously.

"The results of our preliminary investigation once again confirmed that there were no decuplets in the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, as well as there was no way that Tshwane District Hospital, that is not even capacitated to deliver twins, can deliver 10 babies," the department said.

The department added that clinicians at both facilities have confirmed there is no record of the delivery of decuplets in any of the public health facilities in Gauteng.

"It is not clear as to where the delivery happened," the department said.

READ | 'Tembisa 10': Mother breaks silence, says she will not be forced to reveal where babies are

The story of the so-called 'Tembisa 10' captured local and international attention after the Pretoria News claimed a woman had given birth to decuplets and, as a result, had broken a world record.

However, as the story began to gain momentum, various government departments, hospitals and social workers denied the "facts" of story.

News24 reported on Thursday that Sithole's lawyer, Refiloe Mokoena, confirmed her client was now a patient of the social development department, and had been taken to a hospital in Tembisa for evaluation.

The social development department's spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant, told News24: "We are appealing to the media to give us space to finish the work of government. When this work has been completed, we will talk to the country."


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