Get well, Tata

2013-06-30 14:00

Max Sisulu hopeful about Madiba’s health.

A host of government officials and politicians went to the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria yesterday to pay tribute to former President Nelson Mandela and take his family messages of support.

After his visit yesterday, Speaker of Parliament and family friend Max Sisulu said the elder statesman’s health was improving.

Sisulu was accompanied by National Council of Provinces chairperson Mninwa Mahlangu and they laid flowers outside the hospital, wishing Madiba a speedy recovery.

“We are pleased with the progress Madiba is making. We love him dearly and we don’t want to let him go,” said Sisulu, echoing the sentiments of many who have visited the hospital in Arcadia.

South African ambassador to Egypt, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, who brought along her two grandsons to honour Madiba and left a bouquet of flowers, was also among the visitors earlier in the morning.

This was as hundreds of ordinary South Africans, some of whom took their own offspring to the hospital to leave flowers and cards with messages of support, came to honour Madiba.

Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi also visited with uMkhonto weSizwe veteran Laloo Isu Chiba, who spent 18 years imprisoned on Robben Island along with Mandela and ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu.

The two, dressed in Muslim attire, left flowers at the wall, which has seen the number of tributes swelling by the day.

Chiba shared his cell block with many other great anti-apartheid activists and has a close relationship with Mandela.

He was responsible, along with presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj, for Mandela’s manuscript that gave rise to his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom.

The day also saw many church choirs, including that of the Zionist Ukuphila Kwe Ntokozo church from Mpumalanga, visiting the hospital and singing hymns and being joined by other visitors.

Painters and craftsmen also spent yesterday – Madiba’s 22nd day in hospital for a recurring lung infection – creating fresh artworks bearing Madiba’s image.

Presidential candidate in Madagascar’s upcoming elections, Dr Roseline Emma Rasolovoahangy, also left a bouquet and a tribute message for Mandela.

Madiba’s former physician and former surgeon-general of the SA National Defence Force, Lieutenant General Vejay Ramlakan, who has visited Mandela daily, was also seen with an entourage of military vehicles before leaving later in the afternoon.

Mandela’s eldest daughter, Makaziwe, and granddaughter Ndileka were among family members who visited Madiba in three vehicles and spent hours inside the hospital.

Methodist bishop of Johannesburg Paul Verryn also spent the morning outside the facility where he said a prayer.

A group of branch leaders from the Association of Construction and Mineworkers Union (Amcu), which is embroiled in continuous conflict on Rustenburg’s platinum belt, also came to pay tribute.

The Amcu leaders said they wished to reconcile with their opponents in the National Union of Mineworkers because that is what Madiba had stood for.

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