Mapisa-Nqakula, Holomisa, family members visit Mandela hospital

2013-06-24 11:49

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Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and former president Nelson Mandela’s daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, were seen at the Pretoria Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital this morning, where the ailing leader has spent 16 days because of a recurring lung infection.

Earlier, granddaughter Zaziwe Dlamini-Manaway had arrived with her husband, American businessman David Manaway. They were seen leaving after a brief visit, with Zoleka Mandela, also a granddaughter.

Mandela’s family members, including ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and children, Zindzi and Makaziwe, have visited Madiba every day since he was admitted more than two weeks ago.

President Jacob Zuma’s statement last night that the 94-year-old Madiba was now in a “critical” condition has increased fears that Mandela had taken a turn for the worse.

Mapisa-Nqakula was seen leaving the hospital shortly after 12pm. Her modest convoy consisted of two cars and there were no blue lights.

During a briefing this morning, Zuma confirmed that Mandela’s condition was unchanged.

Both Zuma and the ANC last night appealed to the country and the world to keep Madiba in their prayers after his condition had worsened.

Well-wishers continued to flock to the hospital, leaving flowers and cards at the entrances.

Zuma’s second visit to Madiba within seven days has also increased speculation that Mandela may not be discharged soon as his grandson, Ndaba, had told the media last week.

Zuma told Parliament two weeks ago that Mandela was responding well to treatment. But the latest statement from the Presidency deviated from the reassurances given in previous statements.

“The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands,” said Zuma, who was accompanied by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa on the visit.

Zuma said he and Ramaphosa talked to Mandela’s wife, Graca, about her husband’s condition, but did not reveal what had been said.

The ANC also released a statement shortly after 10pm last night, expressing concern about Mandela’s deteriorating condition.

“The African National Congress joins the Presidency in calling upon all of us to keep President Mandela, his family and his medical team in our thoughts and prayers during this trying time,” said party spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

Also in a statement, the DA said the news about Mandela’s condition came as a blow.

“We continue to keep Madiba and his family in our thoughts and prayers ... We hope that Madiba is comfortable and peaceful at this time,” said DA spokesperson Mmusi Maimane.

» This story was updated after first published to add details of visitors leaving.

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