It’s a pity the Aussie phone pranksters can’t be deployed to find out what’s up with Nelson Mandela

Alf is bound to say he is disappointed at the dearth of firm details regarding the health of former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Yes, we know Mandela is undergoing further tests in hospital in Pretoria, where he was admitted on Saturday.

And we know (from a Radio NZ report here) that this is the second time the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader has been hospitalised in the past year.

But what’s going on, exactly?

We don’t really know.

Government officials have worked to allay fears over his health, but have stopped short of releasing any details of his medical condition, except to say the tests and medical attention he is receiving are consistent with his age, the ABC reports.

South African president Jacob Zuma visited Mr Mandela and told media he was “comfortable, and in good care.”

Let’s try a second opinion here to see if we can learn more.

(Pretoria, South Africa) — Former South African president Nelson Mandela spent a third day in a Pretoria military hospital on Monday (November 10) for medical tests and the government said the anti-apartheid leader’s condition was comfortable.

President Jacob Zuma visited the 94-year-old, according to an official statement. It provided no other details of the health of South Africa’s first black president, who came to power after historic all-race elections in 1994.

Hmm. How can we find out?

Ah. Here’s how …

We can get a pair of Aussie radio broadcasters to put a call through to Mandela’s nursing team.

Preferably they will be the two who put through a call to check on the progress of Prince William’s missus after she went into hospital with morning sickness.


Too late.

According to the report here, they have been taken off air.

(CNN) — An Australian radio network at the heart of a hoax targeting Prince William’s pregnant wife canceled the show responsible for the prank on Monday, expressing deep regret for the death of a nurse who took a call from the DJs involved.

The two DJs “will not return to the airwaves until further notice,” the statement from the network, Southern Cross Austereo, said. The company also suspended all prank calls, pulled advertising and ordered a comprehensive review of relevant policies and processes.

Alf is bound to say he would have to think hard about his attitude to hoax calls, before asking those two to phone the hospital where Mandela is being treated.

That’s because he was outraged at news the DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, had impersonated Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. This should be regarded as high treason, and in that case a good old-fashioned beheading normally would be called for.

They called the hospital and gleaned some information about the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge – formerly known simply as Kate – which they subsequently played on air.

Alas, the nurse who transferred the call through to the ward, Jacintha Saldanha, was later found dead after apparently committing suicide.

This was a tragic outcome of the prank call.

The best that can be said is that it has triggered a review by
New Zealand radio stations of the use of prank calls.

Alf learned here that –

The Radio Network’s David Brice is looking at the future of prank calls, and how they’re handled on stations such as ZM, Classic Hits, and Hauraki.

He said with prank calls, the person at the other end needs to know they are being recorded and sometimes what was previously acceptable is no longer something stations should continue to do.

Brice said if a similar incident happened in New Zealand and the hosts were judged to have brought the company into disrepute, they would probably lose their jobs.

Radio stations have reasons other than ethics to be reconsidering such calls, because all advertising has been pulled from 2Day FM. Major brands have suspended their accounts in the wake of the incident.

“We have suspended advertising at least until Monday on that radio station in Sydney out of respect to advertisers until business issues can really be addressed,” spokesperson Sandra Kay told AAP.

Even so, Alf is keen to find out how Nelson Mandela is faring, and it looks like a hoax call might be the only way to do so.

Wonder if Barry Soper can do a passable impression of Mandela’s missus.

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