ANC criticises DStv's Mandela obit ad

 Johannesburg - Mistakenly advertising an obituary of former president Nelson Mandela on pay television DSTV was insensitive, the ANC said on Wednesday.

“This was uncalled for and totally insensitive on the part of DSTV as 1/8former 3/8 president Mandela is alive and receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection, as reported by the presidency,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

DStv's broadcast of an ad for an obituary documentary on Nelson Mandela caused panic among South Africans on Tuesday night. File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko. Credit: AFP

Mthembu said the ruling party nonetheless welcomed the satellite TV service's apology.

An ad of the obituary, titled “Remembering Madiba 1918-2013” appeared on Universal Channel 117 on Tuesday night, featuring facts about Mandela's life.

Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital last week with pneumonia.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj on Wednesday told The Star newspaper the mistake was unfortunate and insensitive to the Mandela family. He commended the channel for removing the insert and explaining the mistake.

The Universal Channel said it had obituaries ready for major statesmen and offered a “sincere and heartfelt apology for the airing of such announcement... due to a technical error by our team”.

Viewers vented their anger on social networking site Twitter, calling on the channel to pull the insert and apologise. - Sapa