Here is how a woman fooled media, and government officials. Gosiame Thamara Sithole, a South African 'mom' had claimed that she had given birth to 10 babies. But a recent probe has exposed the woman as findings state that forget having decuplets, she was not even pregnant.
Following a report in the media, the Gauteng Provincial Government ordered a probe into the decuplets case. Officials conducted a thorough investigation and checked all the hospitals in the area. But they did not find a record of Sithole having given birth to babies in any of the hospitals. "None of the hospitals in the province, public and private, had any records of such births at their facilities," the government said.
Reports claim that when officials tried to reach out to the family, even her husband could not reach her. Then following a search operation, the officials finally were able to find 37-year-old Sithole. She was taken in for a psychiatric evaluation. Initially, officers had taken permission for 72 hours of questioning, but later the process was extended to a week.
After thorough questioning and analysis, it was found that Sithole was not even pregnant. The official statement read: "It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms Sithole did not give birth to any babies in recent times. It has also been established that she was not pregnant in recent times." The woman has been admitted to psychiatric ward.
Legal Action Against Fake News
Currently, the government has directed the State Attorney to initiate legal action against the newspaper that published Sithole's decuplets story. The news first appeared in the newspaper Pretoria News. What angered the government was a follow up story by the paper when Sithole was taken in for questioning. Editor Piet Rampedi had published the news with the headline "Government was trying to cover up medical negligence by holding Sithole."
After the medical report that has proved that Sithole was not pregnant, government has also made Piet Rampedi a part of the lawsuit. Following this, Rampedi apologized for trusting Sithole's words as she was his friend.
"I am sorry for the reputational damage the aftermath of the story has caused for the group, the company and my colleagues in general," he wrote in an email that was obtained by News24. He agreed that he failed to deliver his duty as a journalist and just went by the trust he had on his friend. But after the government published the medical records of Sithole, Rampedi admitted that he was wrong.
"They [Sithole couple] had no reason to lie to me about the pregnancy. For me, it was a story of celebration. Hence, I never demanded documentary proof of the pregnancy, such as scanners and clinic cards, for instance, as I would normally do with an investigative story," he wrote, according to News24.