State’s decuplets cover-up

Date: 17 Jun 2021

Sithole gave birth at Steve Biko Hospital but it’s unclear what happened to the babies

DECUPLETS mother Gosiame Sithole gave birth at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital on Monday last week, but the whereabouts and state of her babies remain a mystery.

An investigation by Independent Media, assisted by a private investigator, has uncovered that the woman was admitted to the government-owned hospital in Pretoria earlier that day and delivered her babies.

It’s unclear what happened to the babies and what their state of health is.

In a statement released yesterday, Independent Media, which initiated a private investigation into the birth of the decuplets, following denials by various government officials, said the story was not fake news but a cover-up of mammoth proportions.

The Pretoria News reported on the birth of the decuplets on Monday last week. At the time, various government officials said the state had no records of such births or that they could not verify Sithole’s delivery.

This included Government Communications and Information Systems chief executive Phuma Williams, Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe, health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi and Steve Biko Hospital chief executive Dr Mathabo Mathebula.

However, sources told the Pretoria News that the denials were part of a campaign to cover up medical negligence that involved politicians and civil servants including Premier David Makhura, Mokgethi and Mathebula. They likened it to the Life Esidimeni scandal.

An investigation by Independent Media has uncovered the following:

On Monday 7 June, Sithole was admitted to Steve Biko Academic Hospital. She arrived at the hospital shortly after 3pm and was seen at the maternity ward.

She delivered 10 babies – seven boys and three girls. Doctors, who had been expecting eight babies, were surprised by the delivery of 10. Sithole delivered five babies by natural birth and had to undergo Caesarean section for the delivery of the other five.

The hospital did not have enough functional incubators at the time of Sithole giving birth.

Nurses told Sithole the babies had been taken to the intensive care unit (ICU). A nurse informed Sithole on Tuesday that there were complications with her babies.

Sithole, who was dizzy and still weak, could not fully comprehend the information.

She later moved to the mothers’ (or lodge) section of the hospital where parents of still-born children are taken for recuperation.

When Sithole eventually regained her composure, she went to the ICU and demanded to see her children.

However, she was denied access and threatened with arrest and a referral to a psychiatric hospital.

On Saturday, a staff member called her sister and told her to collect Sithole.

The sister arranged an Uber whereafter Sithole was transported to her place in Rabie Ridge, Midrand.

The hospital did not have, or put in place, a clear operational plan for Sithole giving birth.

The doctors who helped Sithole deliver have gone to ground and have been unreachable since Tuesday.

Nurses and doctors were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements barring them from disclosing information about Sithole’s delivery and the babies.

Steve Biko's staff repeatedly called Sithole since Saturday begging her to return to the hospital as part of a plot to lock her up and paint her as a mental case.

A source said: “Lastly, sources at Steve Biko confirmed that there were babies in the ICU named Sithole. The nursing staff have confirmed that the mother was in the lodge section at Steve Biko, which is only for mothers who have given birth. Secondly, they have confirmed that she came to the hospital looking for her babies after she was informed that they were in the ICU.”

Sithole confirmed during an interview this week that she indeed gave birth at Steve Biko and that she spent days in the maternity ward before moving to the lodge section.

Approached for comment last night, Mokgethi said she was in church but would look at the questions sent and respond. Makhura could not be reached for comment. Masebe referred the Pretoria News to his previous statements.

Last night, Independent Media released the findings of its private investigation into the decuplets matter, insisting that the government’s denial was a cover-up of mammoth proportions.

“We can confirm that Ms Sithole was transferred to the lodge section on Thursday. She was not provided with food, except for bread and tea in the mornings. She was provided with no medical or psychological assistance. This information is corroborated by several independent sources, including staff at Steve Biko Academic Hospital. Independent Media will present all such evidence and our records to law enforcement officials if requested to do so.

“Considering our findings, Independent Media calls for an urgent investigation into the actions and statements of the chief executive of Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Dr Mathebula; the Gauteng provincial government, and the Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, with respect to the birth of the decuplets.

“We would like answers from Dr Mathebula, and Gauteng Premier Mr David Makhura, and Ms Mokgethi,”said Independent Media in a statement.

PIET MAHASHA RAMPEDI piet.rampedi@inl.co.za

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