Mandela’s condition ‘unchanged’, South African government

Nelson Mandela

The South Africa government says former president Nelson Mandela remains in a serious but stable condition, two days after being taken to hospital with a lung infection.

“Former president Nelson Mandela remains in hospital, and his condition is unchanged,” the South African presidency said in a statement released on Monday.

South Africans have been anxiously waiting for news on their beloved Madiba, who is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

President Jacob Zuma has again asked for people to pray for the 94-year-old former anti-apartheid leader.

Mr Mandela was taken to a Pretoria hospital early on Saturday in a “serious but stable” condition.

South Africans are beginning to come to terms with the mortality of their first black president and father of the “Rainbow Nation”, following a string of recent health scares.

The Sunday Times newspaper’s stark front page headline was: “It’s time to let him go”.

Meanwhile, the ruling ANC party has hit out at reports the family of Mr Mandela has banned party members from visiting him in hospital.

Spokesman Jackson Mthembu says the family deny making such a statement.

He says the ANC has deferred responsibility for any contact with Mr Mandela to Mr Zuma.

It is the fourth hospital stay since December for the Nobel peace prize laureate, who turns 95 next month, after he was discharged in April following treatment for pneumonia.

Although the government has not identified the hospital treating Mr Mandela, family members were seen on Sunday leaving a heart clinic in Pretoria where a large media camp is gathered.

“We wish Madiba a speedy recovery, but I think what is important is that his family must release him,” Mr Mandela’s long-time friend Andrew Mlangeni, 87, told the Sunday Times, using his clan name.

“Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow. We will say thank you, God, you have given us this man, and we will release him too,” said the former apartheid era prisoner, who was jailed for life alongside Mr Mandela in 1964.

Mr Mandela is revered as a global symbol of forgiveness following his release from 27 years in prison during white minority rule and his latest hospitalisation has triggered outpourings of concern across the globe.

He has not been seen in public since the World Cup final in July 2010.

ABC/AFP