National police confirmed on Tuesday that ailing former president Nelson Mandela was being treated at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.
This was the first official confirmation that he was being treated there, following rumours and visits by his family members to the hospital in the past few days.
Security at the facility had been tightened, with police officers manning the two entrances.
“President Mandela is a former president so it’s our duty as police to ensure safety around dignitaries and former presidents,” Brigadier Phuti Setati said, confirming that police stationed at the hospital were part of the presidential protection services team.
Mandela was admitted to hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning in a “serious but stable” condition, the presidency said.
The number of news crews camping outside the hospital continued to swell on Tuesday. By 11am, there were 13 outside broadcast vehicles along the street near the hospital’s main entrance. Hundreds of media personnel, including logistical and technical staff, milled outside the main entrance.
Some of the media crews had generators and had erected tents at the second entrance, adjacent to a busy street leading to the Pretoria CBD.
Local and international journalists were also camped outside Mandela’s Houghton, Johannesburg, home.
A group of school children from the Rainbow Hill Christian School in Orange Grove arrived at the house on Tuesday morning and sang “Get well Tata Mandela, get well”.
After they finished, one boy stepped out of the group and read from a card, thanking Mandela for what he had done for South Africa, wishing him the best, and saying he was loved.
On Monday, the presidency said Mandela’s condition was “unchanged” from Saturday.
“President Jacob Zuma reiterates his call for South Africa to pray for Madiba and the family during this time.”
Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mandela was receiving intensive care. All vehicles entering the facility were being checked and searched.
Barricades were erected at the spot where journalists had been camping on Monday, forcing the press to move across the street. Police tape was used to cordon off the area.
This was the third time this year the Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been in hospital. At the end of March and in April this year he spent nine days in hospital receiving treatment for recurring lung problems.
Earlier in March, he was admitted to a Pretoria hospital for a scheduled check-up and discharged the following day. – Sapa