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Zuma: Mandela in Critical, But Stable Condition

  • Gibbs Dube

Former South African President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Former South African President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

The South African government says former President Nelson Mandela’s health condition slightly improved Thursday though he remains critical.

In a statement, President Jacob Zuma, who cancelled his trip to Mozambique Wednesday night after visiting the ailing Madiba, said the medical team continues to do a sterling job in treating the international political icon.

Mr. Zuma said, “We must pray for Tata’s health and wish him well. We must continue with our work and daily activities while Madiba remains hospitalized.”

He further said the presidency is disturbed by rumours that are being spread about Mr. Mandela’s health. He did not elaborate though noting that people should respect the former president’s privacy and dignity.

The same sentiments were echoed by Mandela’s daughter, Makaziwe, who told reporters in Johannesburg that her father is in critical condition.

“Yes, Tata’s situation is critical. He does not look good. I am not going to lie. But I think that for us as his children and grandchildren we still have hope because when we talk to him he flatters trying to open his eyes and when we touch him he still responds and I think for us as his progeny it gives us hope,” said Makaziwe.

Makaziwe, who had no kind words for the international media covering Mandela’s illness, said, “The fact that mu dad is a global icon or one of the 25 influential people of the 21st century does not mean that people cannot respect the privacy and dignity of my dad.

“I don’t want to say this but I am going to say it. There is sort of a racist element with some of the international media who just cross boundaries. You have no idea of what is happening at the hospital. They (journalists) are standing right in the middle of Park Street and you can’t even go enter or get out of the hospital … They are like vultures when a lion has devoured a buffalo waiting for the last carcass.”

She also talked about their visit to the family gravesite, noting that it was not for public consumption.

Weighing on Mandela’s illness, Zimbabwean general medical practitioner Elophi Sibanda said the Intensive Care Unit is associated with serious medical conditions which are normally controlled through life support systems.

Mr. Mandela has suffered repeated bouts of illness in recent months and was admitted to a Pretoria hospital almost three weeks ago suffering from a recurring lung infection.