Zuma not returning for Nelson Mandela

2011-01-26 22:33

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma does not intend returning from the World Economic Forum in Davos in view of former president Nelson Mandela's admittance to hospital on Wednesday.

"The president is in Davos and will be there until January 28," presidential spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

"From there, he is flying to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to attend the African Union Summit. The programme has not changed."

Mandela was admitted to Milpark hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday afternoon for what was described as routine tests.

By the evening, a veil of silence was drawn over his condition.

Staff at Milpark Hospital declined to speak to journalists who descended on the premises for news on the elder statesman.

Makeshift barrier

By 19:30, the only formal word on the condition of 92-year-old Mandela remained a short statement issued by the Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesperson Sello Hatang around 16:15.

It stated: "We can confirm that Mr Mandela is at Milpark Hospital undergoing routine tests. He is in no danger and is in good spirits."

Hatang did not answer his cellphone for follow-up questions.

Mandela's daughter Makaziwi from his first wife Evelyn said: "You got the statement? No further comment."

Members of the Mandela family were seen coming and going at the hospital by reporters.

A staffer from the French news agency AFP saw Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, leaving the hospital around 17:30, with four other family members departing shortly after.

Another report said she returned later in the evening.

At a far corner of the hospital, a makeshift barrier of green mesh was erected. Inside the area were VIP cars, presumably belonging to family members.

Security on high alert

As night fell, journalists, photographers and cameramen lined a nearby bridge outside the hospital that gave them a full view of the barricaded area.

Later in the evening, metro police told them to move off the bridge. Some then took up position in the hospital parking lot.

One of Mandela's grandsons was seen buying magazines and refreshments at the hospital eatery. Ndaba Mandela and his youngest brother were also seen near the barricaded area.

Mandela's long-time aide, Zelda la Grange, flanked by a bodyguard entered the barricaded area.

Hospital security remained on high alert.

By 22:30, the immediate vicinity of the hospital had grown quiet, including the area around the barricade.

Some journalists sat inside the hospital waiting area, blending with hospital visitors and patients. One journalist carrying a brown paper bag, was seen limping in an attempt to blend in with the ill.

A hospital nurse standing outside the main entrance was overheard saying: "I saw him being flown in (by helicopter) at 2pm."

Mandela's "routine tests" came a day after Archbishop Desmond Tutu told Sapa that Mandela was "frail".

"I saw him last week," Tutu said in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"He was all right, I mean he's 92, man, you know. And he's frail."

Twitter abuzz

Twitter was abuzz on Wednesday evening with news of Mandela being admitted to hospital.

Sandiso Ngubane, @Sandiso_N, tweeted: "My thing is; why would family members from Qunu come to check Madiba out during his "routine check-up"? Sometimes spin is just that... Spin!"

Other tweets speculating about Mandela's health included Siphojanuary who tweeted: " why would the family and high profile people be visiting #Madiba in hospital if he just went for a routine check-up???!"

RanjeniM tweeted "having dinner at Nelson Mandela Square cos only place I can feel close to him now. That statue is somehow comforting #Madiba".

"Hope Mr Nelson Mandela is okay n it really is a routine check up!! I'm really woRried **praying hard**," wrote another twitter user Purplemooky.

Twitter user Norwin tweeted: "#Madiba not in ICU; family and friends seen chatting and laughing. Hospital security stepped up".

"If something happens to Nelson Mandela tonight or in a day or so, do I close shop and let my staff off for the day? 80 employees nationwide?" user WarrenRSmith said.


Earlier this month, a report circulated on the social network that the elder statesman had died.

It was condemned as malicious and insensitive by the African National Congress.

Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport said though the rumours were false, reliable sources had confirmed that Mandela's health had deteriorated.

In mid-January, a Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesperson said Mandela was well and on holiday with his wife Graca Machel.

  • helizna - 2011-01-26 22:48

    Come on Zuma! Show some respect for your superiors!

      Redwine - 2011-01-27 08:09

      JZ does not know the meaning of respect. Stay away boet you are the last man I would like to have around when I am not well.

      Max - 2011-01-27 09:47

      Tata was admitted for routine check-up, is not like he is very ill (according to the news)

  • Macho Mike - 2011-01-26 22:51

    Zuma, do us a favour man. Stay in Davos until 28 January - 2015!

      shrink - 2011-01-26 23:27

      he must just stay there for life, ga a thuse ka selo ne.

      IandI - 2011-01-27 11:06

      If JZ comes back what will he recommend Madiba do? Take a shower??

  • veld66 - 2011-01-26 23:12

    In this moment in time, there is no other living Hero than this man Nelson Mandela, i just hope its routine tests and this man get to live beyond hundred years!!!

      Limelite - 2011-01-27 00:11

      Yeah - he's a big hero. He has admitted to signing off on the Church Street bombing where people died in the most horrendous manner. A real hero for sure.

  • burtfred - 2011-01-26 23:38

    I'm sure Nelson is relieved to hear that Zooms won't be around for a while.

  • k1dbl4ck - 2011-01-27 00:03

    May as well use the tax payer sponsored private jumbo jet to skip across the pond no? He is not coming cause there's nothing wrong. When is the last time the old man went to hospital? Like never! I think he's due for a checkup anyway. We are still gonna party in 2019 when he hits 100.

  • eon.engelbrecht - 2011-01-27 00:22

    bloody agent!

  • Kleinbooi - 2011-01-27 00:31

    i dont think Nelson would want Zuma to leave the Forum so that he can see him. Madiba is a selfless person who cares about the country and its people, so if the Forum is about building the economy and therefore changing the lives of ordinary South Africans i see no problem with Zuma being there. My problem is with the media that makes it look like Zuma does not care or respect Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. May God be with him

      Harold - 2011-01-27 08:21

      Oh for heaven's sake The Punisher get over it.

  • JohnBloem - 2011-01-27 00:35

    What can jacob Zuma do in SA right now? its not like he is a doctor. Im sure Madiba has the best possible medical care and Jacob Zuma is in crucial talks to get this economy growing and to create jobs and end poverty. Jacob Zuma is doing what Madiba appointed him to do. Im sure JZ in where Madiba wants him to be.

      Bhopopo - 2011-01-27 08:32

      The Truth, u are embarrasing yoself in a public forum - read some newspapers and watch some news, pliz...

      Max - 2011-01-27 09:58

      @ The Truth, you an idiot, do you have brains?

      Grant - 2011-01-27 11:48

      Its not about Zuma being able to HELP - its about showing respect! If you were away on work to feed your family, and heard your mother was about to die, would you not return (even though you are not a doctor)?? When Nelson Mandela dies, the WHOLE WORLD will go into never before! THAT is the magnitude of his life. And no amount of conferences will help Zuma end poverty, until he decides to end his own selfishness (a lesson Nelson Mandela could still teach on his deathbed)

  • chiraagramjee - 2011-01-27 00:50

    I hate the headline of this story, yet again the SA media have nothing to report so they sensationalize a nothing story.Had Zuma come back you would have had the headline "Zuma rejects SA economy to sit with old man". Where did journalistic integrity go.

      Dash - 2011-01-27 07:50

      Chi You can ask that question again! a nonentity who is a bloody agent nogal!!!!

  • Mzamo - 2011-01-27 06:24

    I'm sure who ever jonalist that wrote this crap story is an alcoholic, Madiba won't get better just because Zuma is back in the country. Those people who say Zuma should stay away forever are just foolish that's all, get well soon Tata Madiba, we demand u to see 2019.

      Thinus - 2011-01-27 08:32

      Demand, lmao!!! That is all you can do, isn't it??? Demand Demand Demand, HaHaHa.

  • pakiri - 2011-01-27 06:44

    My prayers and love go out to Mr Mandela and his family. The world's icon hopefully is in hospital for a routine check up.Just hearing that he is ill makes me so sad . This is the most admired man worldwide and nobody can dispute that.

  • coolwaynie - 2011-01-27 07:01

    Why would old showerhead return. Morgan Freeman is not a Zulu so therefore of little importance.

  • THE PUNISHER - 2011-01-27 07:31

    Stortkop en die 40+ barspote saam met hom, is te besig om die belastingbetaler se geld uit te pis, hy soek vrou nommer 300 (of so iets), en om die moontlike oorsese beleggings klaar te verdeel tussen die ander klomp barspote wat in die ANC is

      Dash - 2011-01-27 07:59

      You have some issues man! I think you are still fixed on the past, get over it and move on. LET GOD BE THE JUDGE OF ALL.

  • Hugh - 2011-01-27 07:45

    Ever thought that this is a mountain from a mole hill. Only those who have had a ninety two year old live with them know about these things. He is no different to any old person. Overall if Zuma is not returning home means that there is no dire need. Another thing is that the Zuma has only a std six and not exactly the brightest spark when it comes to medical stuff.

  • sjackson - 2011-01-27 07:47

    Zuma does not have a heart that is why this country is what it is like today. Nelson Mandela will always be my hero and i do hope he gets well soon.

  • carlokie - 2011-01-27 08:03

    What do they want - for Zuma to come and use his healing hands? Why is the fact that he will not be returning for this even news?

  • johnstonel32 - 2011-01-27 08:10

    Selfish self-centred b*stard!! Who the fcuk needs you anyway - Nelson Mandela is way, way above you!!!!!!!! Stay where you are and SA will be a better place

  • Madelane - 2011-01-27 08:12

    Nope....Zuma is at the conference telling possible investors that they must not leave Africa behind while his boss Malema is pushing Nationlisation so that the investors can feel safe in the knowledge that their money will be used for big parties and fancy cars......are these people really this stupid? Oh and tough Madiba while the rest of us wish you the best the cronies are out there looking for more ways to line their pockets.

  • Ms M - 2011-01-27 08:21

    Look people just need to lay off now. Baba Madiba is human, and even if he frail and his condition is deteriorating that is expected for any 92 year old. The media just need to give him and his family space, to deal with his condition – other possibilities! Yes, he is a world-renowned icon, but considering everything he has gone through, all that he has done for this country and its people – the least we can do is show some respect to him and his family by stopping with all the speculations, and uncalled for comments. What does President Zuma have to do with Madiba’s ailment? Nothing. What good will Zuma do if he is here? Nothing. So kindly – lets stop being so melodramatic and look at real issues. And the reporters – this is so disgusting, flocking on the bridge, just so that they can get a glimpse of who is going to see Baba??? Please, if you do not have anything good to say - just do not say anything!!! My family and I wish you well Madiba. YOU ROCK OUR WORLDS!!!

      Celesté - 2011-01-27 08:48

      Well said, I agree 100% with you, thank you for your sensibility and I hope others commenting will take note of it and hang their heads in shame.

      Lekabisto - 2011-01-27 10:43

      You Ms M Rock My world!!!

  • Julius - 2011-01-27 08:50

    Enjoying the snow and 10 Start living.

  • alexander.lombard - 2011-01-27 09:00

    Tastless headline.

  • bill - 2011-01-27 09:11

    If I were seriously ill in hospital the last face I would want to see is that of Zuma the reptile.I wish that he and Madiba could trade places and that he be sent to a state hospital.

  • NiceGuy - 2011-01-27 09:33

    JZ is a black no matter what has does bad intensions will seen by the media & majority of whites. Makes me what to support Malema all the way. i am a DA supporter.

      mike - 2011-01-27 11:35

      wrong, you are a dikhead

  • - 2011-01-27 09:41

    thats disgusting! He is the father of our nation and that piece of shit does not even return to pay his respects to this great man! We can now tell exactly where his priorities lie!

  • Darwinian - 2011-01-27 09:57

    ..but he'll be here to sue a man who spilled his drink.....

  • Ceo - 2011-01-27 10:31

    zuma sucks!!!

  • Melly30 - 2011-01-27 10:59

    Please, Zuma wants this Great man out of the picture... Do you think Mandela is happy with how the ANC has run the country into the ground!!!

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