Night vigil at Mandela hospital

2013-06-25 00:43

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Pretoria - Scores of journalists were milling around outside the Pretoria hospital on Tuesday morning where a critically ill Nelson Mandela is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

At midnight, the news crews made up of mainly international broadcasters, were doing live crossings near one of the Medi-Clinic Heart hospital's entrances on Celliers Street.

More than 40 cars, including outside broadcast vans, crowded the parking bays outside.

Several generators for back-up power were running through the night and broadcasting equipment including huge lights and cameras had been set up.

The hospital's Celliers Street entrance was closed and there was minimal activity at the other entrance on Park Street, with only a few reporters camping nearby. Several police cars were patrolling the area and a Tshwane metro police car was parked near the fleet of journalists.

Numerous Mandela family members, politicians and government officials have been visiting the anti-apartheid icon.

Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Madiba's daughter Makaziwe, left the hospital on Monday night.

Sisulu arrived at the hospital just after 18:00 in a black Mercedes with blue flashing police lights. She and Makaziwe Mandela left just before 20:00.

Some of Mandela's relatives left the hospital earlier in the day.

First seen leaving on Monday after a visit was grandson Ndaba Mandela, who arrived shortly after Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and daughter Zindzi Mandela-Motlhajwa.

Earlier in the day, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa arrived separately at the hospital.

Condition unchanged

On Sunday night presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement that Mandela's condition had turned critical.

Addressing the media in a briefing, which was initially scheduled as an off-the-record editors' briefing, on Monday, President Jacob Zuma said Mandela's condition had not changed.

"Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital and doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort," Zuma said in Johannesburg.

He and deputy African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa visited Mandela at the hospital on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, it was quiet outside Mandela's Houghton home in Johannesburg on Monday night.

Quiet at Houghton home

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

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

The street was quiet, with only the occasional armed response patrol passing by.

The stones bearing messages for Mandela such as "God Bless Madiba", "Thanx father" and "I love you Madiba" as well as cards were still visible in the flower beds in front of the house.

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