The mother who gave birth to a record 10 babies was detained by police early yesterday morning, amid allegations of a massive cover-up by Gauteng authorities.
According to her lawyer, the mother of the Tembisa decuplets, Gosiame Sithole, was kept against her will and denied access to a legal representation.
Lawyer, Refiloe Mokoena, told Independent Media that Sithole was picked up from a relative’s place at Rabie Ridge, Midrand, and taken to the police station at Chloorkop in connection with the missing person inquiry opened by the family of her husband, Tebogo Tsotetsi, last Thursday.
She said while the police insisted that Sithole was not under arrest, they have refused her access to speak to her.
“They have handed her over to the Department of Social Development to assess whether she is in a position to give them a statement,” said Mokoena.
“I have been here at the police station since this morning. Since 7.30am until midday, I was not allowed to speak to her.
“She told me briefly that the social workers wanted to take her to a place of safety, but that she has refused.
“The representatives of the Department of Social Development say they have called their attorneys to engage on the way forward.”
Sithole told Independent Media that plain-clothed police in an unmarked vehicle picked her up around 6am but did not tell her why and where was being taken to.
“I have not yet even bathed. They came and said I must come with them to the police station,” she said.
Independent Media has sent questions to Gauteng Police Spokesperson Kay Makhubela, Gauteng Government Spokesperson Thabo Masebe, Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko, and Social Development MEC Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawer about Sithole’s arrest.
Masebe asked that enquiries be directed to SAPS.
The spokespeople for Nkabinde-Khawer and Mazibuko referred questions to Masebe. Makhubele did not respond.
The latest developments come after Independent Media launched a private investigation following officials’ denials of the birth on 7 June, claiming no state hospitals had any record of it.
Independent Media has discovered an alleged cover-up of mammoth proportions by Gauteng Health authorities.
It said Sithole as well as sources at Steve Biko Hospital confirmed she had given birth to 10 premature babies, but when she tried to see her children in the ICU afterwards, she was allegedly denied and threatened with arrests and referral to a psychiatric hospital.
The probe, with the help of a private investigator, revealed that the hospital allegedly did not have a birth plan in place for the mother, did not have enough incubators at the time of the birth, while the doctors involved have since gone missing.
“Considering our findings, Independent Media calls for an urgent investigation into the actions and statements of the CEO 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,” the media organisation said.
Independent Media said it stands by the story and has demanded government come clean about the babies and their state of health.
It said Pretoria News Editor Piet Rampedi was introduced to Sithole and father Tsotetsi in December 2020 by members of the church they all belonged to.
The couple shared information about their doctors’ visits and scans with him, showing they were expecting eight babies.
Rampedi has been a thorn in the side of the Gauteng Department of Health, first with his reporting on the Life Healthcare Esidimeni tragedy, which involved the deaths of 143 people, and his exposure of the PPE scandal, which exposed corruption of billions of rands.