ANC is using Mandela, says DA
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Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance A has accused the ANC of using former president Nelson Mandela in direct response to its own use of Mandela in its recent campaign.
President Jacob Zuma and key lieutenants visited Mandela at his Joburg home in Houghton on Monday.
The SABC subsequently broadcast images of Mandela looking his full 94 years – and some viewers immediately accused the ANC of “exploiting” Mandela, using social networks to express their outrage.
On Tuesday, DA spokesman Gavin Davis said: “Madiba was obviously in no fit state to be paraded for a photo opportunity. One can only speculate as to why the ANC subjected Madiba to this, with some people linking it to the ‘Know Your DA’ campaign. Whatever the reason, this selfish publicity stunt smacks of desperation.”
Lindiwe Mazibuko, parliamentary leader of the DA, charged similarly: “The ANC is deeply worried about losing its monopoly on the Struggle against apartheid. Why else would its leadership have an invasive photo-op, in Houghton?”
The campaign Davis referred to featured Mandela in a photograph with the late Progressive Federal Party stalwart Helen Suzman, who died on New Year’s Day in 2009. The DA used the photograph to illustrate the role played by Suzman in opposing apartheid.
It must take a politician to do stuff like that, because no normal human being would do anything like that to an old man,” said political commentator Palesa Morudu. In a Tweet, she slammed the episode as “tasteless!”
“The old man who is frail and clearly not well, is surrounded by grinning politicians being urged to smile!”
On 567MW Cape Talk show host John Maytham accused the ANC of an “obscene kind of exploitation… under the guise of being caring”.
Susan Booysen, professor of political science at the Graduate School of Public and Development Management, said she was “concerned and saddened” by the images on TV.
“Given the obvious state of his health, it would have been appropriate if it had been a quiet shot of him with his family, for example. Not with very jovial ‘very-pleased-with-a-shot’ politicians – in stark contrast to his extremely frail state,” she said.
“I immediately wondered whether the ANC was in a ding-dong battle with DA… and whether the ANC needs that kind of political association in its upcoming battle with the DA.”
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu explained the visit on Tuesday, alleging “determined efforts by some sections of our society to degrade the visit of the National Office Bearers to Comrade Nelson Mandela”.
“The visit by the National Office Bearers of Tata Mandela was in line with the accepted norms of ubuntu that we value our elderly; we take time to visit them and inform others on their condition.
“We maintain that president Mandela is a global icon, as the ANC we regard him as a leader of the people and we would want to keep the world informed of his condition.
“The video footage captured by the SABC achieves this objective, it was in the public interest and where appropriate we will continue to update the nation, the continent and the world on the status of our beloved statesman and revolutionary icon. Such should never be used for political opportunism,” Mthembu said. - Cape Argus