Gauteng Government To Sue Over Decuplets Fake News Story
More than two weeks after a woman allegedly gave birth to ten babies, we still haven't seen then! The reason it turns out is that they never existed! After being publicly accused of incompetence and a 'cover-up of mammoth proportions' by the journalist and his media company, the Gauteng provincial government has had enough and has turned to their lawyers for relief.
It was presented as a miracle birth when it was first published in the Pretoria News on the 17th June. A woman in Gauteng was said to have given birth to 10 babies at an unnamed hospital, setting a Guinness World Record for the most children born to a woman at any one time.
The news story included bank details for the alleged mother and alleged father of the "decuplets" and readers were encouraged to donate money to support them.
The report sounded wonderful and the provincial and national government set out to find the mother so that could offer support. By the evening of the first day doubts started to grow when the government spokesperson Phumla Williams took the unusual step of issuing a statement to say that the national government had spent the whole day looking for the mother and her babies - to no avail. She asked the Independent Media group to share the babies' location with the government.
Rather than think again about their story, Pretoria News Editor Piet Rampedi and IOL doubled-down on their story and ran them again the next day again as lead stories.
As the days passed and there was still no sign of the babies, or the mother, rather than admit that there were terrible holes in their story the Independent Media group accused the government of a massive cover-up.
The company also fully supported the journalist despite the many questions that were being asked and rather attacked the Gauteng Health Department and accused them of wrongdoing.
"The Tembisa 10 story is not fake news but a cover-up of mammoth proportions by Gauteng Health authorities, Independent Media said on Wednesday. After initiating a private investigation into the birth of the 10 babies, the media organisation said it stood by the stories published in both print and online publications," the company said in a statement June 16th.
The Gauteng provincial government has now completed their investigations and has released a full statement on the matter.
Gosiame Sithole is currently under the care of doctors at Tembisa Hospital where she is under observation in terms of the Mental Healthcare Act.
According to the Gauteng Provincial spokesperson the doctors treating Gosiame SIthole have confirmed that she did not give birth to any babies in recent times and has not been pregnant.
"The Gauteng Provincial Government will continue to give medical, psychological and social support to Ms Sithole and provide any counselling she might require".
The statement from the provincial government goes on to lambast the journalist and media house who had recently claimed that that had been guilty of incompetence and a massive cover-up.
The GPG is deeply concerned by the conduct of teh Independent Media Group, particularly the Editor of the Pretoria News, Mr Piet Rampedi. The Provincial government has instructed the State Attorney to institute legal action against Mr Rampedi and the Independent Group".
The Independent Media Group is one of the only major print media companies to not be a member of the Press Council and to have agreed to abide by its rulings. As such those with complaints about the company's articles have to turn to the courts. Recently the former head of ABSA bank Maria Ramos was successful in court in her challenge against Independent who were forced to apologise to her for defaming her in articles they published.
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