Madiba: Family hoping for a miracle

An Australian minister has apologised for incorrectly announcing that Madiba had died.

Former president Nelson Mandela. Picture:Sapa

CAPE TOWN - An Australian politician has apologised to South Africa's High Commissioner for incorrectly announcing that former President Nelson Mandela had died.

Resources Minister Gary Gray has issued a statement saying he was "deeply sorry" for wrongly telling guests at a Minerals Council of Australia dinner in Parliament House on Wednesday that Madiba had passed on.

Gray said he had mistakenly shared what he "thought was reliable advice."

Meanwhile, in India the Congress Party in Gujarat province were left red faced after leader Arjun Modhwadia declared that Madiba was no more.

Fueling the hoax on Twitter, pop star Rihanna tweeted: "Nelson Mandela....one of the most incredible men to ever walk this earth!!! Sending prayers up to the Heavens for you! #AngelOnEarth."

SUPPORT FOR MANDELA

It's 20 days since Mandela was admitted for a recurring lung infection and this week has seen more messages of support outside the hospital and his Houghton home with many of the well-wishers holding out hoping that the 94 year old will recover.

Almost three weeks ago it was just a few coloured stones covering Madiba's lawn with messages of support for him.

In stark contrast on Wednesday several visitors left personalised letters in sealed envelopes, posters and flowers outside his home.

A woman came all the way from Dubai to drop off a tribute flag and came along with her two sons.

Meanwhile, the world awaits further news on Madiba's health with hundreds of twitter messages on a daily basis.

FAMILY HOPING FOR MIRACLE

Traditional leader and ANC MP Phathekile Holomisa says the Mandela family are hoping for a "miracle" to help the much-loved former president.

Madiba belongs to the Thembu tribe in the Eastern Cape, an area rich in culture and tradition.

Holomisa said Madiba's fate is in God's hands.

"The Mandela family wish a miracle would happen that he recovers, but at the same time they are aware that there's a limit to the miracles you can have."

Holomisa added that Madiba showed the type of morals and leadership other people should strive to emulate.

LEADERS SHARE MADIBA MEMORIES

Members of the Gauteng Executive Council have been sharing their fond memories of Nelson Mandela.

Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe says the highlight of his involvement in politics was when Mandela was released and he along with many other Soweto residents went to listen to his address at the FNB Stadium.

Nkonfe says he's in awe of Mandela's courage and his willingness to forgive.

"I've never seen such a courageous person as Nelson Mandela, he initiated negotiations with whites and today we are free."

The MEC for infrastructure, Qedani Mahlangu says Mandela is larger than life.

"His legacy will live on for many years and it's important to make sure for younger generations to understand what the role of Mandela has been in of our country."