Litigation: 'Decuplets mom' asks court to order hospital discharge

Moliehi Maria Sithole, also known as Gosiame Thamara, and her husband, Teboho Tsotetsi, the pair at the center of the decuplets saga, have turned to the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) for an urgent order to force the government to release her from a hospital where they say she is being held against her will. 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 because she was detained by the police without a court order or any criminal case against her, notes a Cape Times report.

Sithole, who is being held involuntarily at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital, was admitted to Tembisa Hospital on 18 June for observation through an arrangement by social workers attached to the Gauteng Department of Social Development following reports that turned out to be false about her having given birth to decuplets on 7 June. 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 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. 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 22 June. ‘Upon completing their preliminary examination on Monday, 21 June 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.

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