Tembisa Ten Part 2: Where Are The Grieving Mothers of Gauteng?

For democracy to thrive it is imperative that a country has a Fourth Estate that it can trust. That, clearly, is not happening at Sekunjalo Independent Media but, fortunately, this situation is confined to Iqbal Survé’s hopelessly insolvent newspaper company and Naspers, Arena Holdings and...

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Tembisa Ten Hospital Ward

It is a story that touched newspaper readers, website visitors, radio listeners and television viewers across the globe: “Such an amazing story,” commented Oprah’s best friend, Gail King, the co-anchor of This Morning on CBS in America. A Home For Zephany records the tale, as it played out until now, through the voices of the girl’s biological parents, Morne and Celeste Nurse, extended family members, neighbours, newspaper archives, Facebook posts, letter and SMS writers, radio and television presenters, politicians, clinical psychologists and journalists.

 A Home For Zephany Heindrich Wyngaardt  (Naledi, 2015)

In my previous article analysing Iqbal Survé’s claim at his Tembisa Ten media conference in October last year, I highlighted a fatal weakness in his claim of mass abductions of neonates from Gauteng hospitals to feed a fiendish ‘baby murder for muti’ claim – the fact that, despite all hospitals having CCTV cameras at the entrances to the hospital and at the entrances of individual departments,  he has not produced a single video frame to corroborate these  alleged mass abductions and subsequent baby murders to produce ‘muti’.

Neither for that matter, have his two investigators, advocate Michael Donen and senior investigative reporter Sizwe Dlamini, produced a single example of ‘the muti’ which is being sold in such vast quantities that it is generating a multi-billion rand intercontinental trade. This, after an investigation which has gone on for months.

In this article, I highlight the second defining flaw in his story which has more holes than a hundred meters of chicken wire – the complete absence of charges being laid at Gauteng police stations by emotionally shattered and grieving mothers whose babies have been abducted at local hospitals.

The exploitation of children by pedophiles or in a child labour context has always been with us, but baby abductions from hospital maternity wards are, universally, very rare.

They occur once a decade – if that.

In the past 24 years I know of only three baby abductions in South Africa that have been investigated by the police.

What invariably characterises them, experience has shown, is the gender and motivation of the abductor.

Common to all these very rare and desperately sad cases is that they all feature a bereaved woman fearing disgrace and the loss of love if she cannot prove that she has given birth – and miscarriage is the usual trigger for the abduction.

When such abductions do occur, however, they are always big news.


Recent in local memory is Lavona Solomons, currently serving a 10-year sentence for the abduction in 1997 of Zephany Nurse

This abduction resulted in the publication of two books – see here and here – and a Netflix series, Blood and Water, being produced.

In Britain, the abduction in 1994 of Abbie Humphries from a maternity hospital has been turned into a BBC drama series, The Secrets She Keeps.

The woman who abducted Abbie Humphries had lied to her boyfriend about being pregnant and it is such factors which, universally, define these abductions.

Lavona Solomons had suffered a miscarriage and did not want her husband to know.

In the most recent abduction case, currently before the courts, the abductor confirmed that she, too, had suffered a miscarriage and she sought to compensate for this by stealing a baby.

In 1994 Sonja Combrink, who suffered a miscarriage after nine weeks, concealed this from her boyfriend, Charles MacDonald, fearing he would end their relationship.

Posing as a Red Cross employee, she then took 19-hour-old Micaela Hunter from her mother at the Marymount Maternity Hospital in Johannesburg.

She kept Michaela for almost two years until MacDonald went to the police after finding that Combrink did not have a birth certificate for the child.

Combrinck spent eight years in prison and was released in 2004.

A very different and hitherto unheard of motive for baby abduction was, however, alleged in October last year by medical doctor Iqbal Survé – profit – a motive not corroborated by any evidence.

The parents of Madeleine McCann have never given up the search for their abducted daughter.

Maternal instinct

Yet, if Iqbal Survé, is to be believed, the mothers in Gauteng – most of whom are black – are so bereft of maternal instinct that they, like himself, have not gone to the police to report the abduction of their babies in their hundreds if not thousands by Survé’s alleged multi-billion rand, intercontinental baby trafficking for ‘muti and stem cell’ crime syndicate.

This is a morally repugnant claim because, aside from the recent Mpumalanga case, there is no indication that the South African police are investigating any other baby abduction charges.

We are thus asked by Iqbal Survé to believe that the alleged abduction of Gosiame Sithole’s eight surviving babies – an allegation that the police are not bothering to investigate – has, on its own, generated multi-billion rand international profits.

How do Michael Donen and Sizwe Dlamini, the two people who accepted the brief to investigate the ‘Tembisa Ten’ abduction claims of Iqbal Survé, explain this?

In short, how is it possible for only eight tiny bodies to produce sufficient ‘muti’ and ‘stem cell’ product to create multi-billion rand profits?

How do Donen and Dlamini explain the fact that, unlike the huge world-wide publicity which resulted from the abduction of Zephany Nurse and Abbie Humphreys and the police investigation which resulted in an eight-year prison sentence for Susan Combrink, there has been zero interest from the world at large in Iqbal Survé’s ‘baby abduction for muti’ claim?

How do they explain the fact no baby abduction charges have been laid at police stations in Gauteng, the alleged epicentre of this hugely profitable human trafficking ring?

How do they explain the failure of Interpol to issue a Red Notice alert so that the claimed “Nigerian” mastermind “with two names” behind this alleged evil can be brought to justice?

How do they explain the complete absence of security camera footage which would prove Survé’s claims?

Could it be that Survé’s claim of multiple baby murders for ‘muti’ is universally regarded, in the words of Helen Zille, as ‘news manipulation on steroids’?

In closing:

The Scandinavian countries were world leaders in supporting opposition to the National Party government during the apartheid years and are now a world leaders in their opposition to human rights violations.

There has been no response whatsoever by these countries to Iqbal Survé’s horrifying claims of unprecedented human rights violations occurring in Gauteng’s hospitals.

In 2015, the government of Finland made Iqbal Survé its Honorary Consul in Cape Town.

The new Honorary Consul for Finland in Cape Town is Philip Palmgren

For democracy to thrive it is imperative that a country has a Fourth Estate that it can trust.

That, clearly, is not happening at Sekunjalo Independent Media but, fortunately, this situation is confined to Iqbal Survé’s hopelessly insolvent newspaper company and Naspers, Arena Holdings and Caxton continue to justify the public trust invested in them.

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