No, a woman did not actually give birth to decuplets in South Africa.
Reports out of South Africa that Gosiame Thamara Sithole gave birth to ten babies on June 7, 2021 have been proven false. In fact, the government now says, the 37-year-old was never pregnant.
On Wednesday, the Gauteng Provincial Government reported that they had concluded "a thorough check with all hospitals in the province to establish the veracity or otherwise of reports."
“None of the hospitals in the province, public and private, had any records of such births at their facilities,” an official notice from the government read.
Journalist Piet Rampedi, a friend of the Sithole family, published a story earlier this month saying that Sithole had given birth to ten babies at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in South Africa.
Rampedi reported Sithole had broken the Guinness World Record after delivering ten babies — seven boys and three girls — at one time and her feat was widely reported by international news outlets, including BBC.
Three weeks later, government officials say none of it happened.
"It has now been established by medical practitioners that Ms. Sithole did not give birth to any babies in recent times," the Gauteng Provincial Government' statement revealed. "It has also been established that she was not pregnant in recent times."
The government also said that a follow-up piece written by Rampedi suggesting the “government was trying to cover up medical negligence” is untrue.
"These allegations are false, unsubstantiated and only serve to tarnish the good reputation of Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the Gauteng Provincial Government," the statement said.
In an emailed public apology seen by News24, Rampedi said he no reason to believe his friend was lying.
"Even though I stand by the fact that Sithole was pregnant, some aspects of the story could have been dealt with differently," Rampedi wrote, according to the news outlet. "Could I have handled the story much better? Definitely! Especially the verification process. Quite honestly, I never treated the decuplets story as an investigation at all. I used no investigative tool or checklist."
Rampedi said in the same email that he regretted the attention the story received.
“To be blunt, the story provided detractors with an opportunity to cast aspersions on the professional integrity of not only myself, but also my colleagues in the group," he wrote. "For that, I am extremely sorry."
The Gauteng Provincial Government stated they have instructed the State Attorney to pursue legal action against Rampedi and the Independent Group.
Earlier this year, a woman from Mali gave birth to nine babies at once at a clinic in Morocco, which would be the new record for most babies born at once. Before that, the record was held by U.S. mother Nadya Sulemon, who had eight babies at once.