Sanef welcomes independent probe into ‘Tembisa decuplets’ story

Earlier this month, the newspaper ran an "exclusive story" about a 37-year-old woman who apparently earned her place in the Guinness Book of Records after carrying and delivering 10 babies.

Sanef logo. Picture: Sanef website.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Editor’s Forum on Saturday said it welcomed Independent Media’s announcement of an independent probe into the Tembisa decuplets story by the Pretoria News and its editor Piet Rampedi.

Earlier this month, the newspaper ran an "exclusive story" about a 37-year-old woman who apparently earned her place in the Guinness Book of Records after carrying and delivering 10 babies.

After much speculation on whether the story was true or not, it was later confirmed by the family and the Gauteng health department that the woman by the name of Gosiame Sithole was in fact not pregnant and there were no 10 babies.

But, Pretoria News’ editor Rampedi stands firm by his story and believes that the woman was pregnant with 10 babies.

In a statement, Sanef said that it was disappointed by the continued defence of a clear case of a lapse of ethical journalism by Independent Media owner Iqbal Survé and Rampedi. “But we believe an independent investigation into the story is the correct approach,” the organization said.

The editor’s forum further said that it was also concerned about the precedent of the pending lawsuit by the Gauteng provincial government against the media company. “If replicated elsewhere, it could have dire consequences for small media companies and publishers who would – unlike Independent Media – not have deep pockets to defend themselves.”

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