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Mandela 'critical' in hospital

The Presidency says Madiba's condition has become critical in the last 24 hours.

Former President Nelson Mandela is in a critical condition in hospital. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Presidency has released a statement confirming that former President Nelson Mandela's condition has deteriorated over the last 24 hours and he is now in a "critical" condition.

Madiba was admitted to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria just over two weeks ago with a recurring lung infection. He received treatment for the same condition during an extended hospital stay in December.

The Presidency's statement says President Jacob Zuma and ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa were briefed on Mandela's condition when they visited him on Sunday evening. The medical team informed the two leaders that "the former President's condition had become critical over the past 24 hours."

Zuma was quoted as saying, "The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands."

Zuma and Ramaphosa also met with Mandela's wife Graca Machel and discussed her husband's condition.

The President has appealed to the nation and the world to pray for Madiba, his family and the medical team.

The statement also says Zuma and Ramaphosa were "assured by the doctors that when the ambulance transporting former President Mandela to the hospital on the 8th of June developed engine problems, all care was taken to ensure that all care was taken to ensure that his medical condition was not compromised."

The President said the doctors "dismissed" claims that Madiba had suffered cardiac arrest.

"There were seven doctors in the convoy who were in full control of the situation throughout the period. He had expert medical care. The fully equipped military ICU ambulance had a full complement of specialist medical staff including intensive care specialists and ICU nurses," said Zuma.

ANC REACTS

The African National Congress (ANC) has also reacted to the latest update from The Presidency, saying it "has noted with concern" that Mandela's condition is now critical.

The ruling party says it welcomes the "work being done by The Presidency to ensure South Africans and people of the world are kept informed on the state of Madiba's health."

Meanwhile, former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema says South Africa has to reach a point where the country can let go of the struggle icon.

"If his name has been called the least we can do is pray for him."

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