Mandela death claims insensitive - ANC
Johannesburg - It is people "without a soul" who would spread lies about former president Nelson Mandela being dead, while he is still alive, 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 on a social network, Twitter, was not only "malicious but insensitive" to the Madiba family and the South African nation.
"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 public misuse of their social network.
Rumours did the rounds on Saturday night that the 92-year-old Mandela had died.
However, Afrikaans Sunday newspaper, Rapport, reported 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.
President of the National Press Club Yusuf Abramjee, who was attending the 50th birthday of Mandela's daughter Zindzi, told the newspaper that struggle icon was alive.
"I'm at Zindzi's 50th birthday party. Winnie is here. The rumours are false," said Abramjee.
On Saturday Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesperson Sello Hatang said that the former statesman was well and on holiday with his wife Graça Machel.
Hatang said the foundation had asked that the media respect his 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.