Cape Town – The Gauteng Health Department on Wednesday threatened legal action against Independent Media over explosive allegations that health and other government officials enabled the trafficking of the Tembisa 10 babies.
“The provincial government cannot stand by while serious allegations are made against nurses, doctors, hospital management and health officials,” the department said in a statement.
“The provincial government has instructed the State Attorney to institute legal action against the Independent Media group.
“A senior counsel has been briefed and court papers will be served on the Independent Media in due course.”
On Wednesday, the media group held a press briefing in which it presented the findings of an independent investigation which confirmed that Moliehi Maria Sithole was pregnant and did indeed give birth via Caesarean section.
At the media briefing, a panel consisting of Sithole’s doctor, Dr Mpho Pooe, Advocate Michael Donen, SC, and Independent Media executive chairman Iqbal Survé said the investigation yielded the following findings:
– Doctors and nurses in the private and public sectors are unequivocally complicit in the delivery and subsequent cover-up of the birth of the babies.
– There has been gross medical negligence in that not sufficient doctors were present for these multiple births, with only four doctors in attendance.
– No incubators were supplied, and further that there was a misdiagnosis during Sithole’s surgery.
– All physical and electronic records of this pregnancy and previous medical history of Sithole were removed.
– According to the outcomes of the investigation, Sithole’s detention and the invoking of the Mental Healthcare Act sprung several breaches of procedure and ethics by the various Departments of Health, social workers and medical personnel concerned.
– Advocate Donen and Dr Pooe concurred that one of these was the fact that no collateral history was provided by the people close to her, such as members of her family, relatives, neighbours or people she lived with.
Dr Survé said the media company has been continuously threatened with legal action by the government should it continue going forth with the story.
“We ignored all of them. We invited them to summons us,” he said.
Survé added: “To government I say, it is okay to make mistakes. It is not okay to cover it up. Put systems in place to prevent human and baby trafficking. Suspend the Gauteng MEC of health and social development, those hospital CEOs. Look into the health department.
“We cannot be the epicentre for human and baby trafficking.”