University of the Free State Vice-Chancellor Professor Jonathan Jansen has slammed a report claiming he said that he wishes former president Nelson Mandela would die.
According to Beeld newspaper, Jansen asked a group of about 250 students gathered on the campus for a leadership summit on Sunday: “Don’t you also wish he (Mandela) would die?”
The report said that the students were noticeably shocked when they heard the question.
“Every time we hear he’s in hospital, everyone thinks ‘this is it, he’s going to die this time’. Big Mac (Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj) is lying when he says Madiba is in for check-ups. When you are 94, you go to hospital to die, not for routine tests,” Jansen was quoted as saying.
Approached for comment on Sunday evening, Jansen’s spokesperson Lacea Loader said he meant to say that Mandela should be left to die in peace.
On Monday morning, Jansen told a Cape Talk 567 radio show that his words had been taken out of context.
“Jonathan Jansen says reporter at the leadership summit took his comments out of context to get a front page headline,” the radio station tweeted.
Jansen also later tweeted: “I truly wish Madiba would live forever. I also wish some journalists would have more ethics before completely distorting a message”
Mandela was discharged on Saturday after being admitted to a Pretoria hospital on Tuesday to receive treatment for a lung condition.
Beeld reported that Maharaj was angry when asked for comment on Jansen.
“I’ll think about it carefully. I need to give the matter careful consideration before I comment,” said Maharaj. – IOL, Sapa