Report: Only family can visit Madiba

Reports claim the family feels visitors are a distraction and information might be leaked to the media.

Former president Nelson Mandela is seen during a graduation ceremony at the Medunsa campus of the University of Limpopo in this file photo dated 4 December 2009. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG - While an anxious media contingent awaits news on Madiba's health there have been no visitors on Monday morning to the hospital where he is believed to be receiving treatment.

The Mandela family has declined to comment on reports that they have banned all hospital visitors except relatives.

It is claimed the crackdown on visitors came about because it was felt well-wishers were a distraction and there was a concern they might leak information to the media.

In his last update on Saturday, Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Madiba was in a serious but stable condition.

According to the reports, besides family, everyone else including government leaders and senior party officials have been banned from visiting the former president as he receives treatment for a recurring lung infection.

This is the fourth time since December that the 94-year-old statesman has been hospitalised.

Family members were spotted visiting the elderly statesman over the weekend.

Maharaj on Saturday said Madiba was in a serious but stable condition and was breathing on his own and said an update will come if and when the Presidency gets word from doctors.


Meanwhile, outside Madiba's Houghton home well-wishers spent the weekend dropping by.

There is a white South African military health services car parked in the driveway but the large black gates to the house remain shut.

The streets are busy with morning traffic and motorists slow down as they pass the large cream walls to take in the posters and colourful stones on the lawn.

Pedestrians walking to work are also quick to comment about their concerns around the elderly statesman's health.

A neighbour said she hoped Madiba was comfortable.

"In his auspicious life I wish him comfort and peace."

Several television cameras and tripods have already been set up on the pavement as the world's media waits for an update on his condition.