Nelson Mandela: journalists moved from hospital

A fence was erected on Monday evening next to one of the entrances of the Pretoria hospital where former President Nelson Mandela was believed to be.

Police officers set up the barrier where numerous journalists had been camped out, close to a busy street in Arcadia. Tshwane metro police officers ordered journalists to move their cars.

There was speculation that President Jacob Zuma was expected to arrive at the hospital.

Around 10 uniformed policemen stood at the entrance, along with officers in civilian clothes. Several police cars were driven into and out of the hospital. All vehicles entering the hospital premises were inspected.

Earlier on Monday presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mandela was receiving intensive care.

“Today the doctors are saying his condition is unchanged,” he told reporters from his office at the Union Buildings.

“He is under expert attention and they [doctors] are doing everything to keep him comfortable.” Maharaj said a report in The Star suggesting the Mandela family had barred ANC and government officials from visiting Madiba was unfortunate.

“It’s very unfortunate that one particular newspaper chose to run with that as a headline. I’ve read that report and it has no single source it attributes to, except three unnamed sources.

“There are restrictions which arise from the fact that Madiba is under intensive care. Those are medical restrictions to control movement of people [to exclude the] possibility of visitors bringing infection into the environment,” said Maharaj.

The Star newspaper reported that the Mandela family had taken charge of the 94-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner’s hospital stay, banning everyone, including government leaders and senior party officials, from visiting him.

The African National Congress on Monday said it was unaware of this.

Maharaj confirmed Zuma was scheduled to visit Mandela in hospital, but did not say when.

“As head of state, president Zuma will visit at the appropriate time. We just want Madiba to get better.” ANC MP and Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, had also been at the hospital. – Sapa