The video of the visit by President Jacob Zuma and other ANC officials Monday, which was aired by South Africa's state broadcaster, provided the first images of the former president since he returned to his Johannesburg home April 6 after being hospitalized for pneumonia, the BBC reported.
The ANC's defense followed a public outcry on social media over the visit, which many saw as an invasion of Mandela's privacy.
Mandela, 94, has suffered from a series of medical problems, the BBC reported, including gallstones and a stomach condition, and some citizens wish to see his privacy and dignity respected.
Others have accused Zuma of attempting to seek his blessings for next year's elections, the British broadcaster reported.
But ANC officials said it was their first chance to see Mandela in many years and that they were happy to share Mandela with the world, even in his frail state.