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Woman claimed to be mom of 10 goes to court over psychiatric hospitalisation

Moliehi Maria Sithole, also known as Gosiame Thamara, and her partner Teboho Tsotetsi, have turned to the High Court for an order on an urgent basis to force the government to release her from a hospital where they say she is being held against her will, reports Pretoria News.

It remains unclear whether the so-called #Tembisa10 exist, despite claims by the Pretoria News, writes MedicalBrief. The Gauteng provincial government has instructed the state's lawyers to take legal action against Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi and the Independent Media group over allegations published that the administration and its hospitals covered up medical negligence over the alleged birth of the decuplets.

According to the Gauteng government, it has been established that Sithole had not been recently pregnant.

Gauteng Health would not comment further to the latest Pretoria News report, except to reiterate that Sithole was admitted to Tembisa Hospital on June 18, and various medical tests were conducted on her to determine her state of health.

An urgent application to the South Gauteng High Court was dismissed on Friday (9 July 2021). However, the main application is still pending.

According to the Pretoria News report, in court papers the couple’s lawyer, Refiloe Mokoena, of Refilwe Mokoena Attorneys, said that Sithole was being held illegally by the Gauteng Department of Social Development and was detained by the police without a court order or any criminal case against her.

Sithole, who is claimed to being held involuntarily at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, was admitted to Tembisa Hospital on June 18 for observation through an arrangement by social workers attached to the Gauteng Department of Social Development after reports about her having given birth to decuplets on June 7.

Sithole and Tsotetsi are listed as the first and second applicants respectively in the court papers filed last week.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Police Minister Bheki Cele, Gauteng Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, her social development counterpart, Morakane Mosupyoe, and Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina are cited as respondents.

In her court papers Mokoena, who accuses various government departments of gross violations of Sithole’s rights, said that the action constituted an unjustifiable breach of Sithole’s right to freedom of movement and liberty, and her right to refuse medical treatment.

“I was not allowed to speak to (Sithole) as the police informed me they had been instructed by the Department of Social Development to hand (her) over to them. The police said they were acting on the instructions of the Department of Social Development and they refused to release the first applicant from their custody,” said Mokoena in the court papers.

Officials from the Gauteng Department of Social Development arrived at the Chloorkop Police Station at about 8.30am and the police handed Sithole over to them and they consulted with her in the open parking area until about noon, Mokoena said.

“At 12.05, (Sithole) came to me in the car and told me officials from Social Development wanted to take her to a place of safety and reunite her with her six-year-old twin boys, whom they had already taken to a place of safety without her consent.

“She told me she had refused to go with them. While she was talking to me, one of the police whisked her away and took her back to the officials from the Social Development Department.”

The Pretoria News reports Tsotetsi saying in the same court papers that he was shocked at the news that Sithole had been apprehended and immediately instructed Mokoena to proceed to the Chloorkop Police Station near Midrand to assist her.

“At approximately 8pm, my attorney … informed me that despite her objection, the police had handed my wife over to the Social Development Department and they had taken her to the Tembisa Hospital as an involuntary mental healthcare patient.”

According to a statement by the Gauteng Department of Social Development, Sithole was initially meant to be kept at Tembisa Hospital for 72 hours, which lapsed on June 22.

“Upon completing their preliminary examination on Monday, June 21, 2021, her doctors recommended that she be kept at the hospital for a further seven days for further observation, in accordance with the Mental Healthcare Act,” reads the statement.

When contacted for comment, the various hospitals’ officials referred all communications to Kwara Kekana, spokesperson for the MEC of Health in Gauteng.

Kekana said there would be no comment further than the statement released by the Gauteng government, which states that Sithole was admitted to Tembisa hospital on June 18, and various medical tests were conducted on her to determine her state of health.

The department said it still stands by its statement.

Mokoena said that while the state attorneys served them with notice to oppose the application, nothing had been yet.


Full Pretoria News story – Decuplets mom turns to court over hospitalisation (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Decuplets a 'journalistic error', says health department


Overcrowding blamed for assaults by Thembisa Hospital psychiatric patients


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