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The Tembisa 10 babies: Decuplets story found to be a ‘hoax’

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Oct 30, 2021

The Tembisa 10 saga is still not over. It’s a situation no South African will ever be able to forget. The article claiming that a Tembisa woman had given birth to 10 babies, or decuplets. Thousands of people donated to the family and the birth of 10 babies was supposed to be a world record. But then, it all turned out to be fake. Since then, Independent Media, who published the articles and paraded the family, have stuck by their story.

Tembisa 10 and the tail of the hoax decuplets

Ok, they haven’t just stuck by their story. They’ve actually built on it and it now sounds even more ridiculous than before. At a press conference this week, Independent Media boss Iqbal Surve held a press conference to report back on the company’s own investigation into the saga. Surve and his team made new claims that eight babies were in fact born, while the other two died.

There are also new claims about a mysterious “Nigerian” doctor who delivered the babies. But now this doctor “can’t be found”. There are also claims of an international baby trafficking syndicate. Since then, every hospital Surve and his team mentioned, has come out publically to say that they have no records of dealing with moms with 8 babies.

Why no apology?

According to new reporting from the Daily Maverick, Independent Media’s internal ombudsman has found that its decuplets story “failed to pass the basic principles of journalism”. The report also refers to the saga as a “hoax”.

Daily Maverick claims to have seen the report, and says that the report recommended an explanation was published in Independent Media publications. And on top of that, an apology. But as we know from Surve’s claims this week, those findings have been ignored. During his briefing this week, he also claimed that the journalist involved, Piet Rampedi, should be cut some slack as it was a “feel-good story”.

““Why would a ‘feel-good story’ of about 20 paragraphs contain 13 references to appeals for donations in cash and kind, as well as two graphics containing bank account numbers of Sithole and [the decuplets’ alleged father] Tsoetsi and drop-off details for donations?”

The Daily Maverick quotes one paragraph of the report.

So, folks, it seems we will never ever see the 10 babies that Independent Media claims exist.

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