Johannesburg - The African National Congress on Thursday expressed distress over the posting on social networks of a picture apparently of former president Nelson Mandela's body lying in state.
“These acts are not only shameful, but are a sign of utter disrespect and demonstration of the utter contempt with which this person views Madiba, his family and this nation as a whole,” said spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
He said the government had urged people who wanted to see Mandela at the Union Buildings to refrain from carrying photographic equipment.
“But there have been others who believe that the considerations of common decency do not apply to them.”
Mthembu said it was disturbing that someone who had been fortunate enough to pay their last respects had seen it fit to disrespect him in that manner.
The party has called on anyone in possession of the photograph to erase it in respect of Madiba.
Mandela family spokesman Lieutenant-General Themba Mathanzima told The Star newspaper that the family was very concerned about the picture.
“We don't know who did this, but we are going to be asking the government to investigate,” Mathanzima was quoted as saying.
“That picture was definitely not taken with our permission. The family is outraged.”
Earlier, the government said the Department of State Security had confirmed that the photograph was fake.
Spokeswoman Phumla Williams said the government found it “extremely” distasteful that a member of the public would manipulate a photograph of Mandela at this time.
Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, last Thursday, at the age of 95.
An official memorial service was held at FNB stadium, in Soweto, on Tuesday.
He will be buried at Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday. - Sapa