The SABC and SABC Television News bragged and showed the nation tonight its "exclusive" yet highly tabloidized and shocking visuals of an old, frail and ailing Nelson Mandela, clearly not in good health.
It is raising questions as to why only the SABC - and accompanied by ANC officials - were granted access as the only television and news outlet to film the elderly statesman after his multiple recent hospital stays.
The SABC and the ANC visited Nelson Mandela earlier today at his Hougton home, with the SABC shockingly showing the highly undignified footage of a vacant-looking Nelson Mandela, most staring out in front of him, not smiling, grey-skinned, pale and gaunt-looking, and almost saying nothing.
President Jacob Zuma tries to hold the expression-less Nelson Mandela's hand and whose head has to be propped up by a pillow, but Nelson Mandela doesn't respond and Jacob Zuma just gives up.
While EVERYBODY WORTH THEIR SALT OR PROFESSIONALISM IN THE PRESS OR MEDIA who has ever covered Nelson Mandela knows (as I myself have done before, and you read and are instructed to, and obey it to a fault) is that NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY IS ALLOWED.
Yet the SABC shows one Mandela grandchild (clearly with no oversight or supervision or media intervention) blatantly asking him to "smile" as a photo is taken with a flash going off in the old man's face. Nelson Mandela who can hardly move, closes his eyes - extremely sensitive after years of working in limestone quarries.
The SABC's presidential correspondent Mzwandile Mbeje, took to Twitter earlier today to hype up the SABC "exclusive" with the ANC: "SABCNews brings you the first pictures of Mandela and the ANC top six, Zuma, Cyril (Ramaphosa) and (Baleka) Mbete among others since his discharge from hospital."
The shocking visuals are a far cry from the ANC statement from president Jacob Zuma saying that Nelson Mandela is "in good shape and in good spirits" and "that's he really up and about".
"Madiba looked more like a prop in that photo op with the ANC bigwigs. Made me feel uneasy," tweeted the eNCA's NewsNight co-anchor Iman Rappetti.