Mandela footage outcry: ANC hits back

Johannesburg - The ANC has hit back at criticism that its leaders were insensitive to allow filming of a frail Nelson Mandela at his home yesterday.


Some social media users are accusing the ruling party of invading the former statesman's privacy... and lying about his health.
 

This after visuals of a frail and unsmiling Madiba were broadcast last night. But ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu says the filming was done in the public's interest.  

"The country needs to see Madiba, the continent needs to see Madiba, and the world needs to see Madiba," Mthembu said, adding that the elderly statesman belongs to everybody.

Mthembu said there was no confusion that Mandela was frail which was not unusual for a 95-year-old man. However social media users didn't share that view.

"They need to stop saying Mandela is doing well. Look at him," a Twitter user wrote.

Another user wrote: "Mandela is not in a good shape, the government have the nerve to lie straight to our faces."

The SABC broadcast exclusive footage of the ailing Mandela, showing him sitting impassively with a blanket over his legs.

He was flanked by Zuma, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, party chairwoman Baleka Mbete and his medical team.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate looked blankly at the camera while everyone around him stood chatting and laughing.

A frail Mandela was seen closing his eyes as someone's camera flash light clearly affected his eyes.

Mandela is known to have sensitive eyes after years of working in a limestone quarry when he was imprisoned on Robben Island.

The African National Congress' top leaders visited Mandela at his Houghton home in Johannesburg earlier on Monday.

The report said he was in good spirit.

President Jacob Zuma told the public broadcaster that Mandela was "up and about" but South Africa's first post-apartheid president showed little emotion while being filmed with Zuma seated next to him.

"We had some conversation with him, shook hands, he was smiling," Zuma told the SABC.

"He's really up and about, [and] stabilised. We are very happy, we think he is fine."

A Twitter user wrote: "Mandela can't even turn his heard but Zuma says he's in good shape".

"Poor Nelson Mandela. Let him be. No elderly person deserves that," said another user.

"After everything the man has done for us this is how we treat him. Like an animal at the zoo. Shame on us. #mandela."

Other users said: "After months of attacking media for "invading" Mandela's privacy, ANC today released an invasive video of a clearly ailing and grim Mandela."

"SABC claims Mandela looks "relaxed" and "in good spirits" but the new video contradicts that claim."

Mandela was discharged from hospital earlier this month after spending nine days receiving treatment for recurring lung problems. He has had lung ailments before.

Early in March, he was admitted to a Pretoria hospital for a scheduled check-up. He was discharged the following day.

In December last year, Mandela underwent an operation to remove gallstones and treat the recurring lung infection. He was discharged after an 18-day stay and placed under home-based high care at his Houghton home.

In January, the presidency said Mandela had made a full recovery from the surgery and continued to improve. In February last year he was admitted to hospital for a stomach ailment.

At the time, the presidency said Mandela underwent a diagnostic procedure to investigate the cause of a long-standing abdominal complaint.

In January 2011, Mandela was taken to Milpark Hospital for routine tests relating to respiratory problems.

Mandela's last major public appearance was in July 2010, at the final of the Fifa World Cup at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg.

Since then he had spent his time between Johannesburg and his ancestral village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

- Additional reporting Sapa

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