ANC outraged at Mandela obit error

2013-04-03 16:28

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The ANC has expressed shock and outrage that DStv’s Universal Channel broadcast an obituary of former president Nelson Mandela last night.

ANC national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said while the party welcomed the apology from the channel, the broadcast was “uncalled for and totally insensitive on the part of DStv as Nelson Mandela is alive and receiving treatment”.

The Universal Channel apologised for flighting the obituary last night.

Universal Networks, which owns DStv’s Channel 117, today issued a statement through DStv apologising for screening the message entitled “Remembering Madiba 1918-2013”.

A still clip from the broadcast posted by an upset Facebook user showed a picture of a younger Mandela with the following information: “His great grandfather and father both ruled as Inkosi Enkhulu (sic), or king, of the Thembu people in the Transkei region.”

The channel apologised to the ailing elderly statesman, who is currently recovering from a lung infection in hospital, saying a technical error led to the broadcast.

“Like any international broadcaster, Universal Networks holds obituaries ready for every major statesman in the world.

“We unreservedly apologise to the Mandela family, to Universal Channel viewers and to DStv subscribers for the alarm and offence caused by this error.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with Madiba and his family for a speedy and full recovery,” it said.

The Facebook user who saw the message during the broadcast of Monk expressed surprise, saying he “always thought such captions were reserved for deceased people”.

Some users of microblogging site Twitter were also irritated by the glitch.

One user asked if it was true that Madiba had passed on. Using the Twitter handle ?@Londzz_M, she tweeted: “Just saw a clip on universal channel saying mandela is dead, iqiniso vele?”

Jonty Lewis, ?tweeting as @Tweeks, said: “Universal channel already showing Mandela 1920-2013...He not even passed yet.... Tasteless DStv”.

@Chelimo_: asked : “I’m confused. Doesn’t year - year mean someones died?”.

@R_Mutuse tweeted: “Universal channel on DStv showing an ad of Mandela 1920-2013. Sad!!”

Twitter user @rejoicedan said: “Shame on all of You, Allow the Man to die, i know everyone is at the edge of their seat to hear the news of his Death.Shame”

Today, presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said doctors were happy with Mandela’s progress.

“His doctors say he continues to respond satisfactorily to treatment and is much better now than he was when he was admitted to hospital,” said Maharaj.

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