The biological father of Maria Moliehi Sithole’s triplets, Qriquas Mzolo, wants answers about the whereabouts of the missing babies and the circumstances under which they disappeared after they were released from the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane three years ago.
Mzolo said he saw the babies for the last time in the incubators in September 2018. The triplets were born prematurely at the hospital on July 6 that year, he said.
Mzolo broke his silence in an interview with Independent Media at his home in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, last week after learning from Sithole’s relatives that the babies had been kept at his family’s relatives in Moletsane, Soweto. He said this contradicted the knowledge he had that they were staying with Sithole’s relatives.
Mzolo said he and Sithole dated briefly in 2017 but he ended the relationship before discovering that she was pregnant. He said Sithole became aware of the pregnancy and immediately informed him.
In the second trimester, Mzolo said, the doctors informed Sithole she was pregnant with several babies.
He said that on the day she left for Steve Biko Hospital in the first week of July that year to deliver the babies, he gave her three names – Meir, Tova, and Ariella – for birth registration purposes.
Mzolo said that after the hospital accepted his bona fides as the babies’ biological father, the doctors and nursing staff allowed him access to them. During their eight-week stay at Steve Biko Hospital, Mzolo said he visited the babies at least on four occasions.
“When she fell pregnant she was living in the property up until she gave birth. She delivered at Steve Biko. The triplets I saw when they were still in the incubation phase. They were there I think for eight weeks.
In the ninth or maybe the 10th week (upon discharge) she took them to a relative in Soweto, Moletsane. From then I never saw them until now. But I know they exist. I saw their picture when they turned 1 and I also spoke to them once when they could talk – not all of them, but one.”
However, Mzolo maintained that he did not know for a fact that Sithole had taken the babies to her relatives in Soweto as she claimed. He said he became suspicious when Sithole’s sisters from Ficksburg, Free State, asked to see the triplets at his place last month during their visit to Gauteng.
He said that after travelling to Steve Biko Hospital with his relatives in two cars to fetch Sithole and the babies in September 2018, the nursing staff told him she had fetched the babies earlier in the morning accompanied by a woman introduced as her aunt. “But the paperwork was there. I could see she signed, saying she had received them and they were in good condition,” said Mzolo.
Sithole has been admitted to the Weskoppies Hospital as an involuntary case since June this year.
Mzolo said that in June this year Tembisa-based social worker Mokgethwa Makate approached him after reading about Sithole’s decuplets story.
He said she wanted to know the latest about the triplets because she had previously handled their matter after receiving a complaint from Sithole. He said he asked Makate where the babies were because, according to his information, they are receiving child care grants.
As a result, the social workers ought to know from government records who was receiving grants on their behalf and which clinic they attended.
He said he gave Makate a copy of his ID and the names of the children to help him verify if they were registered under his name or Sithole’s.
This was after he was told the children were receiving social grants and support from a private baby clothing company.
Feedback from Makate was that there was no evidence that the kids were registered under his name on the National Identification System (Natis), Mzolo said.
“They (babies) are not registered in my name,” said Mzolo.
“They are not in her (Sithole’s) name either.”
The names given by Mzolo appear in Sithole’s private diary found at her home and seen by Independent Media in June this year.
Makate did not respond to questions sent for comment. Gauteng Department of Social Development spokesperson Feziwe Ndwayana and Siya Qoza, spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs, did not respond to requests for comment either.
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