The Universal Channel (shown on DStv channel 117) had aired a programme 'Remembering Nelson Mandela', apparently from an already prepared file on the global icon.
The channel on MultiChoice's DStv pay-TV cable network platform had accidentally aired the obituary to its millions of viewers who took to the social networks to express their shock and grief. Mandela's health had relapsed last week following infection of his lung. But latest reports from the hospital indicates that his condition is improving.
But realising its gaffe, the cable network has expressed its dismay at the technical error, noting that it was a glitch and not intentional as claimed in some quarters. It tendered apology.
The statement released by the Universal Networks International which programmes the Universal Channel on DStv reads in part: "Like any international broadcaster, Universal Networks holds obituaries ready for every major statesman in the world.
"Universal Networks wishes to offer a sincere and heartfelt apology for the airing of such an announcement for Nelson Mandela which was broadcast last night on the Universal Channel due to a technical error by our team.
"We unreservedly apologise to the Mandela family, to Universal Channel viewers and to DStv subscribers for the alarm and offence caused by this error. Our thoughts and best wishes are with Madiba and his family for a speedy and full recovery."
When contacted, DStv Head of Communications, Mr. Segun Fayose, said he would send a mail to that effect.