ANC slams Mandela death reports

People “without a soul” had spread rumours about the death of former president Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress said on Sunday.

“The ANC strongly condemns individuals or groupings behind such a hoax, which is meant to create an atmosphere of panic and anxiety in the country,” spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

He said the weekend hoax, first reported on Twitter, had not only been “malicious” but insensitive” to the Mandela family and the South African public.

“It also goes against the African culture and tradition to claim that a living person is dead,” Mthembu said.

He called on Twitter to investigate and find a way of stamping out the misuse of their network.

Rumours spread on Saturday night that Mandela (92) had died.

Rapport newspaper reported on Sunday that although the rumours were false, Mandela’s health had deteriorated.

The newspaper said its reliable sources had confirmed that Mandela’s health had weakened.

On Saturday, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s spokesperson Sello Hatang said the former statesman was well and on holiday with his wife Graça Machel.

Hatang said the foundation had asked that the media respect Mandela’s privacy.

“Those behind this hoax are certainly people without any interest in the political and economic stability of South Africa, which we very much owe to the immense contribution by comrade Nelson Mandela, the country’s first democratically elected president,” Mthembu said. - Sapa

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