Nation prepares for Mandela Day

Madiba is still being treated for a recurring lung infection in hospital.

An official from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory collects letters and messages of support that had been delivered these past weeks at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria for former president Nelson Mandela, Monday, 8 July 2013.Picture:SAPA

PRETORIA - As the entire country prepares to mark Nelson Mandela's birthday next week, the former president continues to receive a steady stream of visitors at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria where he remains in a critical but stable condition.

Madiba is entering his fifth week in hospital where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

Pretoria is expected to announce its plans to mark the global icon's birthday today.

On Monday, Ekurhuleni announced it had arranged a team of mountain climbers to summit Kilimanjaro in honour of Madiba.

Meanwhile, the hive of activity at the hospital is only a fraction of what it was two weeks ago since the statesman's condition stabilised.

Visitors have described him as being on a ventilator with a tube down his throat.

However, they say he is conscious and responds when spoken to.

Officials from the Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory have continued their visits to the tribute wall, where they collect cards and other messages of support.

Several relatives, including his daughter and grandchildren, visited him on Monday.

National Freedom Party (NFP) Leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi is among those expected to visit Mandela in hospital today.

Madiba's wife Graca Machel has maintained her vigil at his bedside.


Last week, there were conflicting reports about the statesman's health.

Court documents released by news agency AFP, said the ailing statesman was in a "vegetative state".

The papers also claim doctors have told Madiba's family to switch off the life support machine to avoid further suffering.

However, the affidavits had no signatures from any of the 17 applicants in the case involving family graves.

It is claimed the documents were designed to prove to the court that the matter needed to be dealt with urgently.

In a statement released late on Thursday, the Presidency denied the claims saying a "multi-faceted" team of doctors were attending to Mandela around the clock.