Dr. Iqbal Survé – the owner of Independent Media – has drawn the ire of Nigerians in South Africa with his claim that a Nigerian doctor participated in the trafficking of eight of the “non-existent” decuplets.
No one has ever seen the decuplets, no photograph exists and there are no medical records of their existence, but last week Dr. Survé said two babies died at birth and the other eight were trafficked to Europe and America.
He said home affairs officials, hospital staff, and a Nigerian doctor – with a false name – had conspired to traffic the decuplets allegedly born to 37-year-old Gosiame Sithole from Tembisa, Johannesburg.
The alleged decuplets mother Sithole was earlier this year detained at a hospital for mental observation and possible treatment after doctors examined her and discounted her claims that she had recently been pregnant.
At the Independent Media press conference on Wednesday last week, Dr. Mpho Pooe claimed she had examined Sithole during her advanced state of pregnancy.
However, it has since emerged that Dr. Pooe was not qualified as an obstetrician and gynaecologist.
At the weekend the Consulate-General of Nigeria and the Nigerian Doctors’ Forum in South Africa issued a joint statement in which they condemned comments made by Dr. Survé and threatened legal action.
The joint statement condemned “in very strong terms, this malicious and unsubstantiated attempt at smearing the names of Nigerian doctors and dragging their hard-earned reputation in the mud, all in a bid to feed into the prevailing stereotype against the Nigerian community in general”.
The independent Media Group was challenged to name the “Nigerian doctor” allegedly involved in the baby trafficking within seven days (from 31/10/221), or withdraw the allegation with full apologies.
If the Independent Media Group fails to do as asked, the joint statement warns of “legal action”.
When the decuplets story was first published by the Pretoria News in June, Dr. Survé – according to his publications – donated one million rand to the parents of the alleged Tembisa 10 as they had become known.
Last week, the Gauteng Provincial Government said it was taking legal action against the media group over the same matter.
The move was supported by the national department of health.