Public Protector investigating the ‘Thembisa 10’ babies saga

Independent Media has released a report on the 'Thembisa 10' saga. Stock photo.
Independent Media has released a report on the 'Thembisa 10' saga. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/sam74100

Public protector (PP) Busisiwe Mkhwebane is investigating the “Thembisa 10” babies saga, with the complainant being the father of the alleged babies.

PP spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the investigation is focusing on a complaint that the mother of SA’s so-called “Thembisa 10” babies, Gosiame Sithole, was held against her will for mental observation by provincial health and social development authorities, was denied access to the babies she allegedly gave birth to and her medical records were made public.

Segalwe said investigations are ongoing.

“However, it appears the matter might end in court, in which case the public protector might yield to the court,” he said.

In a letter seen by TimesLIVE and directed to the acting head of the Gauteng department of health (GDOH) in August, the public protector states she is “investigating a complaint of maladministration in connection with the affairs of Steve Biko Hospital, Thembisa Tertiary Hospital and Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital and abuse of power and improper conduct by officials in the employ of the GDOH”.

The Gauteng health department confirmed receipt of the public protector’s communication.

The letter states the complaint was lodged by Teboho Edward Tsotetsi on behalf of his wife Moliehi Maria Sithole.

After the improbable decuplet births were announced, the government launched an inquiry and tracked down the family, announcing shortly thereafter that it was offering support to Sithole. 

In June, the Sunday Times reported on a memo showing that Sithole had contacted a social worker asking for help.

Following a report recently released by the Independent Media group making serious allegations against medical practitioners, nursing staff and hospital management in the Gauteng health department, the provincial government last week said it would be taking legal action against themedia group.

The provincial government said it has instructed the state attorney to institute legal action against the Independent Media group. A senior counsel has been briefed and court papers will be served on Independent Media in due course.

Provincial spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said they are in consultation with the lawyers and will notify when papers are served.

TimesLIVE reported that the Lenmed Group has denied claims that the controversial decuplets were delivered at Zamokuhle Private Hospital in Thembisa.

Netcare confirmed that “no patient with a multiple pregnancy of eight or more foetuses has ever been admitted at any of its hospitals, including Netcare Sunninghill Hospital”.