Tembisa 10: Independent Media Welcomes Gauteng Government’s Legal Action at Press Conference

Tembisa 10: Independent Media Welcomes Gauteng Government’s Legal Action at Press Conference

  • Independent Media hosted a press conference to present the findings of an independent investigation into the Tembisa 10 case
  • They found many instances of medical negligence towards the mother, Moliehi Sithole, and her children
  • Independent Media's executive chairperson, Dr Iqbal Survé, said he ignored threats of legal action by the Gauteng government for how the story was reported on

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On Wednesday, 27 October, Independent Media hosted a press conference in Cape Town to field questions concerning a Pretoria News article alleging that a woman in Tembisa gave birth to decuplets.

At the press conference, Independent Media shared the findings of an external investigation into the matter. Here they confirmed that the alleged mother, Moliehi Maria Sithole, indeed was pregnant and had a c-section.

Tembisa 10, Independent Media, Pretoria News
Iqbal Surve welcomes legal action following Tembisa 10 case. Image: Trevor Samson/Business Day/Gallo Images/Getty Images and Twitter/@PKholokwe.
Source: Getty Images

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Tembisa 10 press conference findings

The panellists at the press conference were Dr Iqbal Survé (Executive Chairperson of Independent Media), Advocate Michael Donen, SC, and Dr Mpho Pooe (Sithole's obstetrician). According to IOL, the findings they presented included that records of Sithole's medical history, and by proxy, records of this pregnancy, had been removed.

However, the medical negligence in this case goes deeper. Incubators were not provided, Sithole was misdiagnosed during surgery, too few doctors were in the delivery room during the birth and ethical boundaries were crossed in the involuntary detention of Sithole using the Mental Health Act.

The finding which received the most attention was that hospital staff, including nurses and doctors, were complicit in the above circumstances as well as a cover-up of the birth. The babies were moved between public and private hospitals and two passed away due to negligence at one of the hospitals they were at.

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Gauteng government pursues legal action against Independent Media

Following the press briefing, the Gauteng government requested that the Stage Attorney commence legal proceedings against Independent Media due to claims they made regarding a conspiracy to cover up human trafficking at hospitals in the province.

Vuyo Mhaga, the provincial spokesperson, said that Independent Media will be served with court documents. He expressed that the integrity of hospital staff and provincial government health officials are at stake, as they work hard to save lives while often risking their own, according to News24.

Independent Media's reaction to the Gauteng government's legal proceedings

When asked about the legal action the Gauteng government is taking against Independent Media, Dr Survé said that throughout the case they have been warned that they could face legal action for their reporting.

“We ignored all of them. We invited them to summons us."

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He maintains that the Tembisa 10 article was intended as a "feel-good" news item, but neither Survé nor Rampedi have explained why the reporting on the case did not adhere to journalistic principles, including ethics and fact-checking.

Possible human trafficking of Tembisa 10 babies

Briefly News also reported that the Tembisa decuplets could have been trafficked. Advocate Michael Donen stated that the investigation uncovered that the hospital where Sithole gave birth has a human trafficking syndicate. The hospitals involved include Steve Biko Hospital, Tembisa Hospital as well as Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital.

Mzansi was tuned into the media briefing by Independent Media and took to social media to share their thoughts. Many people were left feeling sad about what possibly happened to the mother and her children. One person expressed their thoughts as follows:

"This #Tembisa10 story is shocking. Whole 10 babies were human trafficked, with the help of doctors, nurses, politicians and journalists. Wow." - @abednego82

Source: Briefly News

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