The national Department of Health has maintained that there is 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 8 babies are born and that no evidence of their whereabout or existence can be established,” said spokesperson Popo Maja in a statement on Friday.
“Given the magnitude of the allegations, we invite Independent Media which has insinuated wrong-doing on the part of health professionals and 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 denials 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 that 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 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 that there is no record of delivery of the decuplets in any of the public health facilities in Gauteng.
“It is not clear as to where the delivery had happened,” the department said.
The department lamented the distraction and has asked South Africans “to allow health professionals to focus on the task at hand of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The story of the so-called “Tembisa 10” has captured local and international attention after the Pretoria News claimed that 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 that her client was now a patient of social development and had been taken into a hospital in Tembisa for evaluation.
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.”