Police hold prayer service for Nelson Mandela

2013-07-01 12:56

Members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) have held a prayer service for former president Nelson Mandela outside the Pretoria hospital where he remained in a critical condition.

Uniformed members from the crime intelligence and protection unit marched along Celliers Street and sang hymns.

“Ga-ayo-mathapa-Modimo-a-le-pend (God is around, there are no problems),” they sang in Setswana.

They lit candles, placed them next to a wall and saluted. Then they prayed for Mandela’s recovery.

“It is only God who can give you a second chance,” said Captain Moses Sithebe.

“We share in his pain. With God, nothing is impossible.”

Sithebe said Mandela would be saved “with the power of God” and would live to 100.

“We have hope. His life is in the hands of the Lord.”

Colonel Theodore Kahl said Mandela was the country’s treasure.

“As the police, we pray for him, for the grace of our Lord to be with him.”

Kahl closed his eyes occasionally as he spoke about Mandela.

“He is an amazing man. I remember May 10, 1994. I witnessed his swearing in as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.”

He said the elderly statesman was a great man, and wished him a speedy recovery.

Constable Maureen Lailuma could not stop tears from rolling down her face as she sang and prayed.

“I’m here today because of him. I never thought I would share an office with a white man. Tata, you sacrificed a lot for us.”

She said Mandela united people when he took over as a president in 1994.

“He changed a lot of things and today we are working side by side with other nations, without looking at the colour of our skins.”

People continued to put messages on the wall outside the hospital today. Among them was a message from workers at Lonmin platinum’s Rowland shaft in Marikana. The poster with Mandela’s picture reads: “Tata Madiba, we wish you a speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you Tata. We love you.”

The poster was signed by a number of workers.

Mandela was admitted to the hospital with a recurring lung infection on June 8. Today was Mandela’s 24th day in hospital.

On Saturday, President Jacob Zuma said Mandela remained in a critical condition, but he hoped for a recovery.

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