Journalists brave cold for news on Mandela

2013-06-26 01:23
(Alexander Joe, AFP)

(Alexander Joe, AFP)

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Pretoria - Two security guards could be seen early on Wednesday morning inside the Pretoria hospital where a critically ill former president Nelson Mandela is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

At midnight, the hospital's parking lot was almost deserted. Two police cars were visible near the hospital's Park Street entrance and the police officers chatted to each other in the chilly pre-dawn air.

Despite the biting cold, scores of journalists from local and international media houses were milling around outside the hospital in the small hours of Wednesday.

Several outside broadcast vans still had their engines running. The news crews also set up generators for back up power.

Tshwane metro police officers parked near the journalists' fleet on Celliers Street. Numerous police patrol cars were in the area.

Many Mandela family members, politicians, socialites and religious leaders have visited Madiba at the hospital after he was admitted on 8 June.

Earlier on Tuesday, the presidency confirmed that Mandela remained in a critical condition.

"[Mandela's] condition remains unchanged in hospital, and doctors continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, wellbeing, and comfort," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

At Mandela's Houghton, Johannesburg, home all was quiet as well.

At 23:40 a police van pulled up outside the main black gates of the house.

Two officers walked up and down the road to ensure no cars were parked in the streets in front and on the side of the house.

Four other officers went inside the gates and came out about half an hour later.

After midnight the officers all got back into the van and drove off.

Soon after this, another police car drove up and down the streets before leaving.

The house was dark with all curtains and blinds closed. Only the outside lights, in the yard and outside the house, were on.

Outside the main gates, people had put bouquets of flowers and more stones around one of the big trees. The stones were painted in the colours of the South African flag and had messages such as "Nelson Mandela we love you", "Get well soon Tata" and "We love you Madiba" painted and written on them.

The flower beds were colourful around the yard with painted stones in each of them. One had small South African flags spread over the stones.

The stones bore messages including "God Bless Madiba", "Thanx father" and "I love you Madiba" painted on them.

They have been left by well-wishers in the days since Mandela was hospitalised.

Police officers and security guards would take the cards and posters left by people inside.

A single broadcast vehicle was parked outside the house opposite the ailing statesman's house.


- SAPA

Read more on:    nelson mandela
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