Johannesburg: Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has appeared on television for the first time in almost a year, with South African President Jacob Zuma saying the ailing leader was in "good shape." Led by Zuma, an African National Congress delegation met the 94-year-old statesman at his residence on Monday.
Local television networks later broadcast footage of the meeting that took place at Mandela's home here. "He's looking very good, he's in good shape," the ANC leader told the South African Broadcasting Corporation after the meeting, the first update on his health since being discharged from a hospital earlier in April.
However, the visuals have been treated with some scepticism as the footage shows the ageing leader looking frail, distant and unresponsive during the meeting. The video shows Mandela sitting in an armchair with his head propped up by a pillow and legs covered with a blanket.
It also shows the former President staring straight ahead while the delegation members talk amongst themselves and to him. After the meeting, the ANC issued a statement saying they were satisfied with Mandela's health.
"After receiving a briefing from the medical team, the National Officials are satisfied that President Mandela is in good health and is receiving the very best medical care," a statement from the party said. It added that the delegation found "President Mandela in good shape and in good spirits."
Mandela, who will turn 95 in July, has had a series of health scares in the recent past, the most recent being hospitalisation for pneumonia. He spent more than a week in hospital for treatment, before being discharged in early April, the third time his health made admission necessary in four months.
The anti-apartheid leader is a highly revered figure in South Africa for his role in ending the racial segregation at home and the reconciliation process that followed. Due to his role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, Mandela was jailed for 27 years on Robben Island.