ANC: Stop speculating about Mandela

2013-06-10 12:32
Nelson Mandela (File, AFP)

Nelson Mandela (File, AFP)

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Johannesburg - The ANC urged the media to stop speculating about Nelson Mandela’s health following the former’s president’s admittance to a Pretoria hospital at the weekend.

“We call on all media houses and journalists to treat Madiba's health as a serious matter and stop making unwarranted speculations,” spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

“We request the media to give the Madiba the privacy and respect they deserve at this time.”

The presidency said in its first update in more than 48 hours on Monday morning that Mandela’s condition was "unchanged".

"Former President Nelson Mandela remains in hospital, and his condition is unchanged. Madiba was admitted on Saturday, 8 June 2013, for treatment in a Pretoria hospital for a lung infection," the presidency said.

"President Jacob Zuma reiterates his call for South Africa to pray for Madiba and the family during this time," it said.

‘Meeting Mandela a dream come true’

The media continued camping outside his house in Houghton, Johannesburg, and a Pretoria hospital.

Mziwenkosi Tantsi, 29, a driver who works next door to the Mandela Houghton residence, showed journalists camped outside the house a photo of him and the ailing icon.

The photo was taken inside the house in 2010 when Tantsi got the opportunity, through Mandela's grandson Ndaba, to meet him.

"It was like seeing heaven with my own eyes," Tantsi said in IsiZulu.

"It was a dream come true to meet him. I touched his hand and didn't wash it for two weeks. It just felt wrong."

Tantsi said he was not ready for Mandela to go.

"I'm not ready [for him to go]. He must leave when things are fixed because things aren't good right now," he said.

Media camps

The number of media outside the hospital in Pretoria kept swelling on Monday.

Local and international journalists braved the biting cold and monitored two entrances to the hospital. Security guards also manned the entrances.

About 10 outside broadcasting vans were stationed next to the entrances.

Some journalists had erected small tents and some had generators.

Passers-by stopped to enquire about Mandela's whereabouts from the journalists.

The Star newspaper reported that the Mandela family had taken charge of the 94-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner's hospital stay, banning everyone - including government leaders and senior party officials - from visiting him.

In and out of hospital

Mandela has been in and out of hospital in the past few years. At the end of March and in April this year he spent nine days in hospital receiving treatment for recurring lung problems.

Earlier in March, he was admitted to a Pretoria hospital for a scheduled check-up and was discharged the following day.

In December last year, Mandela underwent an operation to remove gallstones and treat the recurring lung infection. He was discharged after an 18-day stay and placed under home-based high-care at his Houghton home.

In January, the presidency said Mandela had made a full recovery from the surgery and continued to improve. In February last year he was admitted to hospital for a stomach ailment.
Read more on:    anc  |  jackson mthembu  |  nelson mandela  |  johannesburg

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