A journalist who broke the story of a South African mum giving birth to 10 babies has apologized after it turned out to be untrue.
Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi said he was “full of sadness and regret” over the scoop which, he said, damaged Independent Media’s reputation – the Mirror reported.
Gosiame Sithole, 37, hit headlines around the world following reports she had given birth to 10 babies at a Pretoria hospital smashing a world record of many babies born at once.
Doubts, however, were raised because medics had no record of the birth and the Newspaper did not have any evidence that the children actually existed.
In the apology, the journalist said he is convinced the woman was pregnant and gave birth, but not to 10 babies.
In a letter to the editor-in-chief, Mr Rampedi is quoted as saying: “Let me start by stating from the onset that I stand by the fact that Gosiame Sithole was pregnant, and that she did give birth… Be that as it may, I am sorry for the reputational damage the aftermath of the story has caused for the group, the company and my colleagues in general.”
He added: “I never demanded documentary proof of the pregnancy, such as scanners and clinic cards, for instance, as I would normally do with an investigative story. There was nothing to investigate, I thought.”
“For that, I am extremely sorry. It was unfortunate” he wrote.
South African authorities stepped up investigations into the matter after reports emerged the whole story was a fabrication.
Medical tests also showed that Sithole had not been pregnant recently, BBC News reports. The reason behind the fabrication of the story remains unknown.
Sithole is reportedly held in a psychiatric ward of a mental health facility under observation after being found at a relative’s house on June 17.