A frail-looking Mandela stared into the distance, while his face looked indifferent to the comrades that surrounded him – a picture quite contradictory to the sentiments expressed by President Jacob Zuma.
"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."
The comments and footage sparked fury and outrage on Twitter as it was evident to many viewers that this in fact was not the case. The banter and laughter from visiting politicians, including ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, party chairperson Baleka Mbete and Mandela's medical, team seemed slightly out of place and provoked criticism from the South African governement as well as the public.
The ANC has previously been called to task for being secretive about the former president's health, but it seems like the public thought an exploitative video showing a drained Madiba propped up on an armchair was insensitive and unnecessary.
Here is what some had to say on Twitter.
Very sad seeing the footage of Madiba. And who was the idiot who took a pic of him with a flash? Disgraceful. Leave him alone.
— John Robbie (@702JohnRobbie) April 30, 2013
Madiba in hospital; ANC says he's doing great. Madiba frail in video; ANC says he's doing great. What's the step after denial? Acceptance?
— Jerm (@mynameisjerm) April 30, 2013
The ANC must free Mandela.
— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) April 29, 2013
A rogue SABC account, whose Twitter bio claims they are "Your National Broadcaster – Uncut, Unedited, Unashamed", tweeted this
Just another day of leaving our ethics at the door to make the ANC look good. Sorry Madiba, you can have some privacy now.
— SABC Too (@SABCtoo) April 30, 2013
Many were outraged at the thought that the ANC may have initiated the "invasion" as a cheap shot toward publicity and thoughts of using Mandela as a mascot contributed to the public's angered reaction.
However, there were those who came to the defence of Zuma and the ANC saying they appreciated being able to see Madiba again after nearly nine months without public appearance.
— vaidd (@DavidLugube) April 30, 2013
— Robert James Hickson (@PositivelyNot) April 30, 2013
— Lindokuhle Mnisi (@LindokuhleMnisi) April 30, 2013
See the footage here and share your opinion with us on Twitter: @mailandguardian. Use the tag: #MGMadiba.