'Madiba's health in God's hands'

Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe told SAFM her father remains critical and that anything is imminent.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela in Soweto on 17 May 2003. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe has told SAFM her father remains critical.

"I can reiterate that Tata is very critical and that anything is imminent."

She adds the family continues to pray.

"I want to emphasise that only God knows when it's time for him to go and so we'll wait with him and as long as he's still opening his eyes and reactive to touch we live with hope until the final end."

At the same time, grandson Mandla says his family is praying for the icon to be spared any pain while he remains on life support.

Mandla spent time on Thursday handing out blankets in Soweto with the al-Imdaad Foundation as part of its Winter Warmth Programme.

While the ailing statesman's health is critical his grandson says the project is too important to interrupt.

"We'll continue praying for him and hoping for the best and that his pain may be eased as we hope for a smooth recovery for him."

Mandla says he will be visiting the hospital before heading back to the Eastern Cape.


President Jacob Zuma and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula along with members of Mandela the family have arrived at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.

At the same time, Mandela's granddaughter Ndileka told reporters outside the hospital that her grandfather remains in a critical condition, but is stable.

She and several other relatives collected flowers and messages of support which have been pinned to what has become a tribute wall to her grandfather.

Ndileka thanked South Africans for supporting the family and praying with them during this difficult time.

"We're anxious as you know he's critical but he's in a stable condition right now."

She says there is tremendous strain on the family, particularly because of the media focus.

"It has been hard especially because of doing everything in the public eye."

But Ndileka said they're heartened by the outpouring of support.


Zuma has cancelled a trip to Mozambique for a SADC summit meeting after visiting the ailing statesman on Wednesday night.

The Presidency says the 94-year-old's medical team is doing everything it can to ensure his well-being at this stage.

Spokesperson Mac Maharaj said, "In the meantime President Zuma has reiterated his thanks to all South Africans for the support they're giving to the Mandela family."

Traditional leader and ANC MP Phathekile Holomisa said the Mandela family are hoping for a "miracle".

Holomisa said Madiba's fate is now 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."


Several men are working on the property around the area believed to be the former president's gravesite in Qunu.

It's unclear what the men are doing as journalists aren't allowed to get too close.

Drilling can be heard coming from the direction of the site.

There has been increased activity around this area over the past few days with a highly sensitive family meeting taking place on Tuesday.

Mandela's grandson Ndaba was seen visiting the site.


More well wishes have been streaming in outside Mandela's Houghton home.

Julie Macleod from Hospice Wits just down the road from Madiba's house said her organisation is sustainable because of his charitable work.

"He's raised charitable awareness in this country and as a result Hospice Wits benefits from it all the time. We have volunteers who come and do their 67 minutes and that raises more awareness and we're grateful."

She's left an art piece on his garden burying a picture of when he was a boxer, then in prison and then the president.

The media contingent on his property has increased.