Mandela remains critical

2013-06-24 06:48
Nelson Mandela (File, AP)

Nelson Mandela (File, AP)

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Pretoria - There was minimal movement of vehicles on Monday morning at the Pretoria hospital where former president Nelson Mandela is in a critical condition.

The hospital's entrance in Celliers Street was closed and police were manning the other entrance in Park Street.

News crews converged on the hospital on Sunday night after the presidency announced that Mandela's condition had deteriorated. Most of them had left by 03:00 on Monday.

Even so, more than 20 vehicles, including the outside broadcast vans of local and international media, occupied the parking along Celliers Street.

A few reporters braved the biting early morning cold to chat near the hospital's Park Street entrance. Some of them held cameras.

Several police officers were stationed inside the hospital premises. A police Toyota Quantum was parked in the grounds, near the entrance on Park Street.

Two security guards manned the entrance and numerous police vehicles patrolled the area.

'Critical' condition

"The condition of former president Nelson Mandela, who is still in hospital in Pretoria, has become critical," presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement issued on Sunday night.

It was issued after a visit by President Jacob Zuma and African National Congress deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

"They were briefed by the medical team who informed them that the former President's condition had become critical over the past 24-hours," said Maharaj.
Zuma and Ramaphosa also met Mandela's wife Graca Machel to discuss his condition.

"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable," Zuma said in the statement. "He is in good hands."

Zuma appealed to South Africans to continue praying for Mandela and his medical team.

Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital on June 8 for treatment of a recurring lung infection.

Well-wishers have adorned the hospital's security wall with get-well cards, balloons, flowers and paintings.

All quiet at Mandela home

Meanwhile, all was quiet outside Mandela's home in Johannesburg in the early hours of Monday morning.

Shortly after 02:00, a silver Jeep arrived at the house. The driver pulled up outside the black gates, flashed the vehicle's headlights and, when there was no response, hooted twice. The gates opened.

Two broadcasting teams arrived at the house on Sunday night, but left a short while later.

The street was otherwise quiet, with only the occasional armed response patrol.

Stones bearing the messages "God Bless Madiba", "Thanx father" and "I love you Madiba", roses and cards shone under a streetlight in front of the house.
They have been left by well-wishers in the days since Mandela was hospitalised.

On Sunday night, the anti-apartheid icon and Nobel peace prize laureate's house was dark with only an entrance light visible through the large windows facing the road.
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