Lindiwe Sisulu joins Mandela visitors

2013-06-24 19:42

Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was among the high-profile political leaders who visited former president Nelson Mandela at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria today.

Sisulu arrived just after 6pm. Earlier, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula also visited the ailing 94-year-old Mandela, who is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

Before Sisulu left, around 8pm, she shared a hug with one of Mandela's daughters, Makaziwe.

The day unfolded in similar fashion to the past 16 days since Mandela had been admitted, with Mandela’s children and grandchildren, including ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and daughters Zindzi and Zenani, visiting the statesman who has been treated numerous times in three hospitals over the last three years.

News of Mandela’s deteriorating condition has been met with dread by members of the public, with many onlookers leaving flowers and cards, wishing him a speedy recovery, at the entrance of the hospital.

Most members of the Mandela family had left the hospital by 6pm, but it is believed that Mandela’s wife, Graca, has been at his side constantly, only leaving the hospital on a few occasions.

Graca’s daughter, Josina, and Mandela’s grandchildren, Swati, Zaziwe, Ndaba and Zoleka, among others, also visited him today, as interest in Mandela’s condition peaked following the news that it was critical.

Zaziwe’s husband and American-born businessman, David Manaway, was also at the hospital.

Mandela’s physician of many years and former SANDF surgeon-general Dr Vejay Ramlakan was seen being driven out of the hospital by vehicles with military number plates.

Ramlakan’s successor, Lieutenant General Aubrey Sedibe, was also seen driving out of the facility earlier today.

Zuma has appealed to South Africans, and the world, to keep Mandela in their prayers and to give the family the privacy it requires.

He reiterated his statement about Mandela’s condition, made through a Presidency release last night, during an SA National Editors’ Forum briefing at Luthuli House in Johannesburg this morning.

“Former President Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital. The doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort.

We thank the media for support and keeping the public informed during this difficult time,” said Zuma in a statement released later.

» This story was updated after first published to add details of Sisulu's departure.

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