Presidency waits on Madiba's doctors

Former president Nelson Mandela. Picture: AFP
Former President Nelson Mandela made his first television appearance in almost a year, looking thin and frail in his Johannesburg home.
Former President Nelson Mandela made his first television appearance in almost a year, looking thin and frail in his Johannesburg home.
Former President Nelson Mandela made his first television appearance in almost a year, looking thin and frail in his Johannesburg home.
EWN's Barry Bateman speaks to President Jacob Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj about Nelson Mandela's latest hospital admission on 8 June 2013.
JOHANNESBURG - After more than 24 hours without a word from doctors on Nelson Mandela's current condition in hospital, the Presidency says it still cannot provide any updates.

The Presidency issued a statement on Saturday morning saying Madiba has been ill for the past few days and his condition had deteriorated.

He was then taken to hospital.

It is the 94-year-old statesman's fourth stay in hospital for a recurring lung infection since December.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj says he is still waiting for information from Madiba’s doctors and will not be able to release a statement on his condition yet.

Earlier, the Presidency said it would update the media later but this may no longer be the case.

It is understood that Madiba is still in a serious but stable condition and being attended to by a large team of doctors.

Maharaj says the recurring lung infection goes back to Madiba’s time spent in prison but with his age it takes longer to recover. 

The Presidency also acknowledged the public’s support for Mandela.


EWN understands a vehicle that arrived at the Pretoria hospital on Sunday morning was carrying two of Madiba’s relatives. 

Mandela’s daughter Makaziwe was spotted leaving the facility on Saturday and the Presidency confirmed his wife Graça Machel spent the day with her husband. 

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was also seen at the hospital but his spokesman denied that he had visited with Madiba saying he had been at the Pretoria hospital for a check-up.

Later in the afternoon, a blue-light convoy was seen leaving the facility with hospital security closing the road to allow the ambulance and three black BMW cars to speed off.


As Mandela spends a second day in hospital for a reoccurrence of a lung infection, well-wishers have turned his Houghton home into a hive of activity.

A large contingent of local and international journalists is camped outside the house, armed with television and cameras all pointed towards the house which is fairly quiet with no official visitors yet and little activity at the securely guarded entrance.

Seven-year-old Judd and his four-year-old sister Amber Rajak visited Mandela’s house earlier with their father to check if some of the stones they had left on his garden were still there.

They shouted, “Get well soon Madiba.”

Meanwhile, dozens of brightly painted stones inscribed with messages of support dot flower beds outside the property.

Scores of well-wishers are driving slowly when passing the house, leaving messages on the lawn for the ailing statesman.


Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has wished Madiba well.

Speaking at a briefing in Pretoria on Sunday, Radebe encouraged all South Africans to keep the statesman in their prayers.

“I also want to join many South Africans who are wishing our icon all the best and to recover soon from the illness.”

The White House has also sent good wished to Madiba while the United States National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and the people of South Africa as her recovers.”


Religious leaders have heeded Saturday’s call by Lead SA to pray for Madiba.

The South African Council of Churches said it’s our duty as a nation to pray for our leaders while the South African Hindu Maha Sabha’s Ashwin Trikamjee said he will have a special moment of prayer for Madiba.

“I just pray that the Lord will sustain him longer and improve his heat.”

A representative of the Council of Muslim Theologians said, “We also pray that the almighty God guide his physicians to take care of him.”

Meanwhile prayers and well wishes for Mandela have been streaming in from all over the world.

A decade after retiring the former president remains an untarnished symbol of forgiveness for leading South Africa into a multiracial democracy as its first president black president.

Well wishes continue to come in from all over the world for Madiba:

The Democratic Alliance tweets well-wishes for Madiba after he was admitted to hospital on 8 June 2013.

British Prime Minister David Cameron sends well-wishes to Nelson Mandela who was hospitalised on 8 June 2013.

Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi wishes former President Nelson Mandela well after he was hospitalised on 8 June 2013.

 (Edited by Tamsin Wort)