Mandela's diary 'closed'

Johannesburg – Former president Nelson Mandela's diary would be "closed" for the duration of the Soccer World Cup, his office said on Thursday.

"We understand that a great many visitors have huge admiration for Mr Mandela and would like to meet him," the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement.

"We are currently being inundated with requests for meetings and it will be impossible for Mr Mandela to accede to even a small fraction of these."

The foundation said Mandela had in recent months curtailed his public schedule significantly.

"We had previously advised that he no longer does interviews, responds to formal questions from the media, researchers, etc."

The foundation emphasised that Madiba remained in "good health", but that he wanted to enjoy the soccer spectacle with his friends and family.

Earlier on Thursday, local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan said it was highly likely that Madiba would attend the opening of the event, even if it was just for a short period.
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