Mandela's condition unchanged - SA presidency

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Nelson Mandela’s condition remained “unchanged” as of yesterday morning, the presidency said in a statement.

“Former president Nelson Mandela remains in hospital, and his condition is unchanged. Madiba was admitted on Saturday, June 8, 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.

This was the first update in more than 48 hours since the presidency announced on Saturday morning that Mandela was in a “serious but stable” condition after being admitted to a Pretoria hospital in the early hours of that morning.

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

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.

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

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.

The African National Congress yesterday said it was unaware of this.

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.

In January 2011, a virtual void of information marked Mandela’s admission to Johannesburg specialist care Milpark Hospital.

With very little information to go on at that time, speculation was rife and reports of his death started running on social networks.

Finally, on January 28, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Surgeon General Vejaynand Ramlakan addressed a media briefing on his health.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which customarily managed publicity for Mandela, only broke its silence on Monday, January 31, 2011.

This was after then Sunday Independent editor Makhudu Sefara wrote an item called “The making of an unnecessary crisis”.

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