Zuma cancels Mozambique trip, Mandela chapel prepared

2013-06-27 06:08

President Jacob Zuma has cancelled his scheduled state visit to Mozambique after visiting former president Nelson Mandela in hospital last night, amid reports that the ailing 94-year-old was on life support.

“Yes, he is using machines to breathe,” elder in the Mandela family Napilisi Mandela reportedly told AFP. “It is bad, but what can we do.”

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj refused to comment on this claim, saying it would infringe on doctor-patient privacy.

Meanwhile, the chapel at 1 Military Hospital where Mandela’s body is expected to be taken after his death, before he is set to lie in state at the Union Buildings, has been prepared, reports Erika Gibson.

In a statement issued by the Presidency shortly after Zuma had spent about half an hour inside the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria where Madiba is being treated for a recurring lung infection, Zuma again expressed his and government’s gratitude to all South Africans for their support to Mandela’s family.

Zuma was due to attend an SADC summit on infrastructure investment in Maputo.

The Presidency said doctors had assured Zuma that they were doing everything they could to ensure Mandela’s well-being.

It was Zuma’s third visit to the hospital in less than two weeks and his cancellation of today’s visit to Mozambique echoes official statements that Mandela’s health had deteriorated to a critical state.

According to the Presidency, Mandela’s health condition has been unchanged since he took a turn for the worse at the weekend.

Earlier in the day, Mandela’s family visited him twice at the hospital.

Family members included his ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his current wife, Graca Machel, his daughters, Zindzi and Makaziwe, grandchildren Ndaba, Zondwa, Tukwini and Ndileka, and Zondwa’s wife, Lindo Zici.

Jozina Machel, Graca’s daughter, and Mandela’s former physician, Lieutenant General Veejay Ramlakan, were also seen at the hospital.

The Presidency said Zuma had been briefed by Mandela’s doctors and that his condition remained unchanged.

Earlier yesterday a church choir and a group of pre-schoolers sang church songs and the national anthem outside the hospital where the police presence had increased.

About 15 preschoolers from the Thand’ Uxolo Day Care Centre in Katlehong’s Mandela informal settlement, painted a huge banner using their handprints to wish Mandela a speedy recovery.

The preschoolers then recited the national anthem and a special poem they wrote, which included words of encouragement that Mandela must “hold on” to life.

Later in the evening South Africans flocked the hospital and sang hymns and struggle songs, during a vigil.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.