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Zuma Says Mandela's Health Condition Still Critical

Former South African President Nelson Mandela
The South African government says former president Nelson Mandela’s condition remains critical as doctors continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, well-being and comfort.

In a statement, President Jacob Zuma urged people to accord Mandela and his family the necessary sensitivity, dignity and privacy.

President Zuma said people must demonstrate their love and appreciation for his leadership during the struggle for liberation and the first few years of freedom and democracy by living his legacy and promoting unity, non-racialism, non-sexism and prosperity.

He also appealed to South Africans to prepare for Nelson Mandela Day, marked every year on his birthday, July 18. Mr. Mandela turns 95 next month. Family members, elders and chiefs met Tuesday in Mandela’s Qunu village, Eastern Cape, to get an update on his illness.

Observers say South Africans are now resigned to fate as the former president continues to struggle for his dear life.

Eric Matambo, a Zimbabwean based in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape province, said a dark cloud hangs over Qunu village and the rest of the country as Mandela’s condition remains the same.

Mr. Matambo said, “I get a sense of resignation in the air about his illness. I actually spoke to somebody yesterday who has arrived in Grahamstown for the National Arts Festival about Mandela’s illness. He was relaxed and calm as he said well, as you know, it’s time … and he actually pointed out that the others who were his peers during the liberation struggle like Govan Mbeki have all passed on …”

Matambo, who is also a member of the Public Service Accountability Monitor, an independent entity which oversees the use of government finances, said he was happy with the way President Zuma is currently handling Mandela’s sickness.

“I respected the fact that President Jacob Zuma on Sunday came out and explained to the public that Madiba’s condition is critical and that it could be getting worse. So, I get the sense that it has been managed well this time compared to the first time when Mandela was taken to hospital,” he said.