VIPs continue to arrive for Mandela

2013-06-28 14:38
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela's latest hospital visitors on Friday included Free State premier and ANC chairperson in the province Ace Magashule.

Accompanied by the party's national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu, Magashule was joined by a delegation from the province.

They carried placards with messages and pictures of Mandela who, at last official word on Thursday, was critically ill, but stable.

Magashule said he was visiting in his capacity as ANC chairperson in the province.

Mandela was admitted to the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital on 8 June with a recurring lung infection.

"Phela seaparankwe Madiba [live great one, Madiba]," the Magashule entourage sang in seSotho.

Another song loosely translated from isiZulu was "Tomorrow morning at 04:00 we will release Mandela".

Though the crowd had grown since Friday morning, it was smaller than on Thursday when rumours grew that he had died.

When the presidency released a statement that he had improved but was still critically ill, prayer meetings sprang up around the province and people poured into the streets surrounding the hospital, lighting candles and leaving home-made get well cards.

Earlier, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula arrived to join Mandela's daughter Makaziwe Mandela and other family members who had already arrived.

US president Barack Obama is expected in South Africa later on Friday.

His office said he would take guidance from Mandela's family on whether he would visit Madiba.

An urgent court application was underway in Mthatha for permission to move the remains of some of Mandela's children from Mvezo to Qunu, Mandela's country home, for reburial.

- SAPA
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