Reports of a 37-year-old South African woman claiming to have given birth to ten babies were viewed with skepticism from the beginning. As congratulations and praise poured in, the father of the alleged children spoke out to say that the whole thing was a hoax.
But now, the South African Department of Health has gone on the record as having investigated the mother, Gosiame Sithole’s claim. The agency, in a statement, said they can’t find any evidence that these babies exist.
According to South African newspaper, the Daily Dispatch, the statement reads in part, “Clinicians at both the Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Tshwane District Hospital have confirmed that there is no record of delivery of the decuplets in any of the public health facilities in Gauteng. It cannot be that 10 or 8 babies are born and that no evidence of their whereabouts or existence can be established.
“Given the magnitude of the allegations, we invite Independent Media, which has insinuated wrongdoing on the part of health professionals and government, to assist Ms Sithole to pursue a complaint with the health ombudsman for the alleged mistreatment of the patient at any health facility,” the department continued.
Pretoria News, which originally reported the story, is owned by Independent Media. The outlet says the babies are real, but accuses the South African government of medical neglect, claiming officials are covering it up. The company’s editors have fallen under criticism, with skeptics arguing the story was fabricated.
The South African Health Department wants to be done with the issue. They’ve encouraged Sithole to produce proof of the babies to end the issue once and for all.
So far, there remains no evidence that these decuplets are real.
The situation around the story is seeming to unravel. Sithole had been previously been reported missing by her estranged partner. Earlier Monday, (June 21) she was reportedly admitted to a psychiatric hospital by social workers, according to the UK Mirror. Her attorney claims she is being held against her will.
Relatives of Sithole’s partner, Teboho Tsotetsi reported her missing and she was found and taken into custody at one of her relative’s homes near Johannesburg. Social workers took her to a hospital in nearby Tembisa, the Mirror reports.
Sithole had previously accused her partner’s relatives of trying to steal donation money from the public intended for the babies, even though they said the children did not exist.