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Mandela's ex-wife blasts Zuma over 'insensitive' visit

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The former wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, speaks to the media outside their first family home in Soweto on June 28, 2013. Winnie has strongly criticised a visit paid by South African President Jacob Zuma in April to the ailing anti-apartheid icon, who is again critically ill in hospital. (AFP/File)

Nelson Mandela's ex-wife strongly criticised on Sunday a visit paid by South African President Jacob Zuma in April to the ailing anti-apartheid icon, who is again critically ill in hospital.

Zuma and the ruling ANC party had come under fire at home and abroad for the visit in April to the former president, who was recuperating at home following a 10-day hospital stay.

"I honestly cannot put in words how hurt the family was. It was one of the most insensitive things for anyone to have done," Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told Britain's ITV News television.

In excerpts published on the ITV website, she added: "It was insensitive, it compromised the family, compromised his dignity and it should have never been done."

Zuma said at the time Mandela was "up and about", a description that was clearly at odds with televised footage that showed the revered ex-leader frail and dazed, sitting frozen in an armchair.

Mandela, 94, is said to remain in a critical but stable condition after more than three weeks in a Pretoria hospital suffering from a recurrent lung infection.