ANC defends showing frail images of Nelson Mandela

The South African ruling party, African National Congress (ANC) has said the showing of the frail image of former President Nelson Mandela was done in public interest.

NAN reports that many South Africans were not happy seeing their former president looking frail when the leadership of ANC led by President Jacob Zuma visited him on Monday at his Johannesburg home.

The party spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu said showing of Mandela’s image is the right thing to do.

“The showing of the images of Madiba was the right thing to do as the world needed to see him.Those who are complaining that Madiba’s latest image was a publicity stunt by the African National Congress are eating sour grapes. We are happy we shared Madiba with the world, even in his frail state,’’ Mthembu said.

It will be recalled that in an exclusive South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) broadcast, Mandela was shown looking blankly at the camera while those around him chatted and laughed. In the camera with Mandela were Zuma, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson Baleka Mbete and his medical team.

Zuma told the newsmen after the visit that Mandela was “in good shape’’ and that he was “up and about’’.

“Our people have not seen Madiba in many years. Now they have seen him with their clear eyes. We are happy with his health. He is no longer a young man, everybody expects Madiba at the age of 95 to be frail,’’ Mthembu said.

The footage has been widely criticised by South Africans, especially in the social media. Mthembu said the ANC had invited only the SABC to accompany them during the visit to Mandela’s home to avoid “making Mandela uncomfortable’’.

“We did not invite the whole crew, because we care about Madiba. The SABC even distributed the images to other broadcasters. This was in the public interest,’’ he said.

Mthembu said there would have been an “avalanche of criticism’’ towards the ANC if it had not shown Mandela’s images to the public after the visit. (NAN)

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