The South African mother who claimed last week that she gave birth to 10 babies at once has been admitted to a psychiatric ward, with her lawyer alleging she is being held against her will. Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, was taken to hospital for a psychiatric evaluation amid growing speculation over whether she was ever actually pregnant with decuplets.
The news comes just days after her partner Tebogo Tsotetsi said that he does not believe the 10 children exist. Tsotetsi alleged that Sithole is lying and the entire story of giving birth to 10 babies may have been invented by her to attracted media attention.
Police officers apprehended Sithole at a relative's house in the township of Rabie Ridge near the city of Johannesburg in the early morning of June 17. Following that, she was reportedly taken to the psychiatric ward at Tembisa Hospital in Johannesburg and examined by a medical team, South Africa's Eyewitness News reported.
She was first taken to the police station before being handed over to social workers who then took her to the hospital and got her admitted in the psychiatric ward. Her detention was carried out after relatives of her estranged partner, Tsotetsi, reported her as missing
"The medical evaluation has shown that there was no pregnancy. It also shows that there are no physical scars to indicate a recent C-section," a source told the outlet.
The police, however, have denied that Sithole was arrested for a crime, had taken her to the station after Tsotetsi's relatives reported her as missing.
Her attorney, Refiloe Mokoena, said that Sithole claims she is "now being held against her will" at the hospital. "She declined that she should be taken to the Tembisa Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation because she felt strongly that she is of sound mind," said Mokoena.
What's the Truth?
Earlier this month, Sithole made headlines after she claimed that she gave birth to decuplets at a hospital in Pretoria on the night of June 7. She then went on to accuse her partner's relatives of trying to appropriate donations from the public meant for the newborns, despite their claims that the decuplets did not exist.
Her detention and eventual admission to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation is the latest twist in the tale. Her lawyer Mokena said that Sithole was forcibly sent to the hospital and is now not being discharged.
"She instructed me to accompany her to the Tembisa Hospital. And when we arrived at the hospital, they took her straight to ward 14, the psychiatric ward. They told me that now she was in their custody, they would not be allowing the lawyers and the team of psychologists that she had requested to be present," Mokoena said.
Speculation further grew over Sithole's claims after the hospital where she claimed she had given birth denied treating her. Moreover, Tsotetsi's stance, who is allegedly the father of the 10 babies, has further made the situation complicated.
Tsotetsi's family has said that after learning about Sithole giving birth to 10 babies, Tsotetsi tried to visit her but all attempts failed. "He (Tebego) made several attempts to visit his girlfriend, but she has failed to disclose her whereabouts and the condition of her babies," a statement from his family said.
"The family has resolved and concluded that there are no decuplets born between Tebogo Tsotetsi and Gosiame Sithole, until proven otherwise and wishes to apologize for any inconvenience and embarrassment," they added.
On the other hand Mokena has alleged that Sithole has been subjected to "mental torture" and "starvation" and she has also been "handcuffed", according to IOL.
"When I left Tembisa Hospital, she made it clear that seeing that she is now being held against her will, I should please move an urgent court order for her to be released," Mokena added.
A protest against her internment was due to be held by relatives, friends and activists outside the hospital on Friday 18th June, though it was not reported if it went ahead.
Local health officials have also said they have no record of the decuplets being born at any of the region's private and public facilities, Eyewitness News reported.