Obama won't visit Madiba

Madiba is being treated for a recurring lung infection at the MediClinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

Socialite and the so-called Sushi King, Kenny Kunene stops by at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN

PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG/QUNU - There are no plans for United States (US) President Barack Obama to visit ailing former president Nelson Mandela, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Tuesday.

Madiba is being treated for a recurring lung infection at the MediClinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

Nkoana-Mashabane made the comments during a briefing about the US president's upcoming three-state Africa tour.

The minister 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."

According to a statement released by the Presidency on Tuesday, Mandela's condition remained unchanged.

Doctors are doing their best to ensure the statesman's recovery, well-being and comfort, the statement read.


Businessman and socialite Kenny Kunene visited the Pretoria facility where Madiba is being treated.

He said Mandela's legacy must be remembered and cherished.

"What we need to do as South Africans is to promise him, wherever he is lying, that the spirit of _ubuntu _(togetherness), forgiveness and reconciliation will preserve and that this country will remain stable."

Outside the hospital, ordinary South Africans continued to pay tribute to Mandela.

Several men, claiming to be Gauteng businessmen, released 100 white doves from their cages earlier on Tuesday.

They said the doves represented Madiba's freedom from apartheid and the freedom he brought about for all South Africans.

Parents also arrived with their children to drop off flowers and get-well messages.


United Democratic Movement (UDM)'s Bantu Holomisa told Eyewitness News he attended a Mandela family meeting in Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

But the UDM leader would not reveal further details.

According to reports, Madiba's eldest daughter Makaziwe Mandela called an urgent meeting to discuss sensitive family matters.

Speaking to Eyewitness News , Madiba's granddaughter Ndileka Mandela confirmed she was in Qunu to attend to family matters and had been travelling back and forth since last week.

But she downplayed reports that a confidential family meeting had been called.

Several cars were seen arriving at Mandela's retirement home on Tuesday, but it was not clear exactly who was inside.

Some reports claim that Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is also in Qunu, but her spokesperson would not confirm the report.

For the Presidency's full statement on Madiba's health click here.