Winnie, Zindzi at Madiba's bedside

The former president remains in a critical condition at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

Former president Nelson Mandela waves after the international launch of the book "Mandela: The Authorised Portrait" in Johannesburg in a file picture from 2006. Picture:Sapa

PRETORIA/CAPE TOWN - Former President Nelson Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and their daughter Zindzi have arrived at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

The 94-year-old was hospitalised earlier in June for a recurring lung infection.

The statesman received a steady stream of visitors after an announcement from the Presidency on Sunday night revealed Madiba's health had deteriorated.

President Jacob Zuma described his condition as "critical".

One of the former president's visitors included his long-time physician and former Surgeon General Veejay Ramlakan.

Madikizela-Mandela and Zindzi are now at Madiba's bedside.

Earlier on Monday, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula made a turn at the hospital.

'HEALTH NOT COMPROMISED'

Zuma moved to assure South Africans and the world that Mandela's health was not compromised when his ambulance broke down on the way to hospital more than two weeks ago.

The president gave an unscheduled briefing at what was supposed to be an off the record meeting with the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef).

On Saturday, it emerged Madiba was stranded in an ambulance for more than 40 minutes while a back-up vehicle was summoned.

But government denied it took that long for the second ambulance to arrive.

Zuma said the medical team transporting Madiba was prepared for any emergency.

"They were ready to deal with the situation. His health was not compromised."

The president wouldn't be drawn on the details around Madiba's health.

"When a person is critical, the person is critical. I'm not a doctor to describe conditions."

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj also denied the report, but would not set the record straight on how quickly the ambulance responded.

MANDELA DAY

Officials at Robben Island will continue with plans to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day next month.

The former president spent 18 years in prison on the island.

It is now one of the world's biggest tourist attractions.

Robben Island CEO Sibongiseni Mkhize highlighted their plans for Mandela's birthday.

"At moment, we're just planning for Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July and we're going continue working with the Education Department and our partners to host schoolchildren from high schools."