Fury over Zuma’s ‘invading’ visit to Mandela

The SABC broadcast exclusive footage of ailing former president Nelson Mandela on Monday evening, showing him sitting impassively with a blanket over his legs.

Although the state broadcaster said he was in good health and good spirits, many viewers questioned this on Twitter.

The ANC's top leaders visited Mandela at his Houghton home in Johannesburg earlier on Monday. The SABC accompanied the ANC on its visit, tweeting on social networking site Twitter about its exclusive from early afternoon.

"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."

SABC news had footage of Mandela sitting in a chair flanked by Zuma, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, party chairperson Baleka Mbete and his medical team.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate looked blankly at the camera while everyone around him stood chatting and laughing. This was the first footage of him in many months.

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.

Footage courtesy of the SABC

Displeasure at the footage
Some viewers took to Twitter voicing their displeasure at the footage of Mandela. Ranjeni Munusamy said: "Who's the idiot who took a picture of Madiba with flash during the visit by ANC officials? Don't they know it hurts his eyes?!".

Another Twitter user commented: "After everything the man has done for us this is how we treat him. Like an animal at the zoo. Shame on us."

Another person 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," wrote another user.

Mandela was discharged from hospital earlier this month after spending nine days receiving treatment for recurring lung problems.

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 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 has spent his time between Johannesburg and his ancestral village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape. – Sapa

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