According to leading South African news website News24.com a digger appeared just two hours after a meeting was held by Mandela’s family at his home in Qunu.
On Tuesday (Wednesday NZT), Mandela family representatives, local clan leaders and national government officials met at the Mandela home for two hours.
News24 reported that after the meeting, Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba Mandela, went to inspect the grave site.
The digger arrived about two hours later and was delivered by a truck. It has been parked about 150m from the gravesite.
South Africa’s Government released a statement saying Mandela remained in critical condition and President Jacob Zuma has cancelled a trip to Mozambique on Thursday (local time).
It would appear final preparations are now being made for Mandela, who has been in a Pretoria hospital since June 8, and has this week his condition deteriorated to critical.
According to CNN, the man known to his country as Madiba was placed on life support overnight (NZ time).
CNN reported an official who had been “briefed in detail” on Mandela’s condition confirmed he was now on life support.
Meanwhile, South Africans have been coming in their hundreds to offer notes, flowers and prayers for Mandela at a wall surrounding the Pretoria hospital where the 94-year-old anti-apartheid hero remains in a critical condition.
Well-wishers’ messages, bouquets and stuffed animals have piled up at the guarded boundary around the compound.
A section of the beige brick wall has been plastered with notes of appreciation for his lifetime of struggle and sacrifice – including 27 years spent in apartheid jails – that helped lead to the country’s first all race election in 1994.
“We know that the day will come when he passes but it is so painful to accept,” said Patricia Ndiniza, 53, an estate agent who left a note wishing Mandela a speedy recovery.
“He is a pillar for all of us. He is our pillar of peace and reconciliation,” she said.
Zuma has said doctors are doing their best to ensure the “recovery, well-being and comfort” of South Africa’s first black president, one of the 20th Century’s most influential figures.
He said Mandela’s situation was unchanged. “As he remains in a critical condition in hospital, we must keep him and the family in our thoughts and prayers every minute,” he told a meeting of a health workers union.