Zuma: Doctors doing their best for Madiba

It's Madiba's fifth day in hospital and messages of support continue to pour in from around the world.

Well-wishers have found creative ways to show their support for Nelson Mandela. Brightly coloured stones dot flower beds outside the former President’s Houghton home.

JOHANNESBURG/PRETORIA - As former President Nelson Mandela prepares for a fifth day in hospital on Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma said doctors treating him are doing their best.

Zuma spoke to the SABC on Tuesday and said he's confident that the team were doing all they can.

"I was given a thorough briefing and I'm confident they're doing a good job and while he's in serious condition he remains stable."

There were reports that Zuma would visit Madiba, but he's remained in Cape Town to prepare for a budget speech.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said, "The Presidency has noted media reports to the effect that President Zuma is to visit the former president on Tuesday. That is incorrect. President Zuma is in Cape Town preparing for the budget vote of the Presidency."

Many family members as well as his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela visited him.

Madiba's eldest daughter Makaziwe and his great-grandson Ndaba were also seen at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Tuesday.

All family members were able to gain entry to the facility without being mobbed by the large media contingent waiting outside.

On Monday evening, security was beefed up outside the facility.

Police checked cars at both entrances and journalists were forced to keep their distance.


With Mandela's forth night in hospital behind him, many supporters braved the cold on Tuesday night to show their support.

However, it was the relentless support from the general public outside the facility which caught the media's attention.

Not even the crispy cold winter air could dampen spirits around the facility where Madiba is being treated.

Whether it was to catch a glimpse of the media or to sing and pray, people flocked to support the ailing statesman.

Some children said they wanted to see why there were so many many cars at night.

"I'm here to see what is going on and get information on Mandela."

Another child said, "I want to see what people are doing here."

With Madiba still in a serious but stable condition, well-wishers said they would continue to pray for him.

"It's God will and if He's going to take him we must let him go but I'll continue to pray for him."

Another man said he would always be inspired by the Madiba magic.

"He did something good for me and if it wasn't for him I wouldn't have a job so I'm happy we are united."


Houghton residents said they were keeping Madiba close to their hearts and in their thoughts.

A gardener, swept the street outside Madiba's home, said he hoped the global icon would get well soon.

"I wish him a quick recovery. He has to be strong and reach 100 years."

A woman stopped by the house to send good wishes to Madiba, said she admires him.

"He means freedom to me. We are able to fly and our children can do whatever they want because of him."

Earlier on Tuesday, a group of schoolchildren accompanied by their principal went to Madiba's home to sing a get well soon song.


A Cape Town-based tourist guide said visitors were usually stunned when touring Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Dan Dunn accompanied a group of Michigan University students through Madiba's home town.

Dunn said tourists were often spellbound by the area where Mandela grew up.

"To them, he is a global icon."

Meanwhile, a Mandela Museum tourist guide said some Qunu residents still amble to the church every Sunday where their icon was baptised.

Eyewitness News is retracing some of Madiba's footsteps in the rural Eastern Cape where he spent much of his childhood.

Many residents have attributed infrastructure upgrades in the area to Mandela, while others are proud to be neighbours near his retirement home.

Tourist guide Zimisele Gamakhulu said the crumbling stone church is a beacon of hope to many.

"The African Native Mission Church is one of the churches that started resisting Apartheid and it's where Mandela was baptised."

Gamakhulu said Madiba was born in the village of Mvezo and later moved to Qunu.

"We're not sure about the date he was baptised but I believe it was two years after he started living in Qunu."