Zuma vists Mandela, cancels Mozambique trip

2013-06-26 23:15
Prayer meeting for former president Nelson Mandela. (Alexander Joe, AFP)

Prayer meeting for former president Nelson Mandela. (Alexander Joe, AFP)

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Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has cancelled his scheduled trip to Mozambique after a visit to the critically ill former president Nelson Mandela in Pretoria's Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

The elder statesman was admitted to the hospital with a recurring lung infection on 8 June.

Zuma's spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, said Zuma had visited Mandela at 22:00.

"President Zuma was briefed by the doctors who are still doing everything they can to ensure his [Mandela's] well-being."

Maharaj said Zuma had decided to cancel his visit to Maputo, where he was due to attend an SADC summit.

A clan elder, Napilisi Mandela, confirmed to AFP that the anti-apartheid icon was on life support.

"Yes, he is using machines to breathe.

"It is bad, but what can we do."

Zuma left the hospital at 22:15 and was followed by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Maharaj said Zuma had cancelled the trip, scheduled for Thursday, after he "found him [Mandela] to be still in a critical condition".

Mandela had been visited earlier in the day by his eldest daughter, Makaziwe, as well as ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Zindzi Mandela as well as his grandchildren Ndaba and Ndileka Mandela.

More police officers were manning the hospital's entrances on Wednesday and using mirrors to inspect the undersides of cars entering the premises.

Tshwane metro police officers cordoned off Celliers Street, only letting in cars of journalists and those of people living in the area.

The country's former surgeon general, Dr Vejay Ramlakan, arrived at the hospital earlier on Wednesday. He stepped down earlier this year.

He returned in the early evening.

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