Madiba: Zuma cancels Maputo trip

Jacob Zuma cancelled a SADC summit meeting after visiting the elderly statesman in hospital on Wednesday.

Nelson Mandela is aided by his wife, Graca Machel in 2009. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA - President Jacob Zuma has cancelled a trip to Maputo where he was expected to attend a Southern African Development Community Summit.

Zuma said he made the decision after consulting with the medical team who said Nelson Mandela remains in a critical condition.

The President visited the statesman at the MediClinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Wednesday night.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj wouldn't comment on reports suggesting Madiba is on life support.

"I can't comment on the clinical details because as I said before we don't want to breach doctor patient confidentiality which invades Madiba's privacy."

Maharaj also said, "Zuma was briefed by the doctors who are doing everything they can to ensure his well being. He reiterated gratitude on behalf of government to South Africans who continue to support Madiba and his family."

The spokesperson added it's too early to say whether the latest developments would affect US President Barack Obama's visit to the country.


Madiba's family including his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and daughter Zindzi visited him twice on Wednesday.

His wife Gra├ža Machel has been at his side for the majority of his hospitalisation and has been sleeping at the facility.

His personal physician Vejaynand Ramlakan also visited earlier in the day.

Outside the hospital, a large crowd again gathered for a second consecutive night to sing songs amid heavy police presence.

Ordinary South Africans and even tourists continued to voice their support by leaving messages and flowers at the entrance of the hospital.

Lebani Sirinje, a Zimbabwean artist, set up his canvas outside the main gate and has been painting a mural of Mandela since Wednesday morning.

This is the second mural the Zimbabwean artist has painted of Mabida after he spent his 67 minutes painting in 2012.

Though many people passing by have asked the artist to sell his painting, he insists it was not for sale.

Sirinje said it was done to honour the father of the nation.


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

Holomisa has been in contact with certain members of Nelson Mandela's family.

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.

He spoke to some members of the Mandela family and says they are in obvious pain.

"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.