QUNU/PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG – It has been another tense day in South Africa with confirmation that former president Nelson Mandela remains in a critical condition at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.
According to a statement released by the Presidency on Tuesday afternoon, Mandela’s condition remains unchanged and doctors are doing their best to ensure Madiba’s recovery, well-being and comfort.
In Qunu in the Eastern Cape, some Mandela family members reportedly attended an “urgent and confidential” meeting called by Madiba’s eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela.
According to reports, the gathering was called to discuss “sensitive matters”.
In a telephonic conversation with Eyewitness News this afternoon, United Democratic Movement (UDM)’s Bantu Holomisa confirmed he attended the meeting. He declined to comment on the matter.
But the timing of the meeting, just two days after the Presidency announced that Madiba’s condition had deteriorated, fuelled speculation.
It has also been reported that Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is also in Qunu, but her spokesperson would not confirm the report.
OPEN LETTER TO MADIBA
Veteran journalist and author Max du Preez on Tuesday said Mandela had shown him proof that good could conquer evil and shared with him that humanity existed.
His touching column about his interaction with the 94-year-old global icon was printed in newspapers on Tuesday.
In the article, du Preez tells a story of how he wrote an open letter to the statesman while he was in prison.
He asked him to liberate Afrikaners and not leave them behind in the new South Africa.
Du Preez said he wrote the letter in 1988.
He was surprised to receive a call from Mandela just a few days after he was set free in 1990, asking him to visit him at his Soweto home.
“He came out and greeted me in Afrikaans and apologised for his accent.”
Du Preez said they discussed inclusive democracy and said Madiba apologised for not writing back sooner.
“It just reaffirmed for me that he wasn’t some God-sent supernatural saint, he was a man of flesh and blood, and a special human being.”
Du Preez said Mandela brought integrity and moral authority to government.
NO OBAMA VISIT
Speaking at a briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said there were no plans for United States President Barack Obama to visit the ailing former president.
She said people who are ill should be given space.
Obama will visit Soweto and Robben Island, and may drop in on Madiba’s foundation, Nkoana-Mashabane said.
“In my country when people are ill, people our age try and given them space to recover. President Obama would have loved to see Madiba.”
(Edited by Tamsin Wort)
For the Presidency’s full statement on Madiba’s health click here.