Mandela’s family members arrive at hospital

Mandela family members
Mandela family members

Family members arrived on Thursday at the Pretoria hospital where former president Nelson Mandela is critically-ill with a recurring lung infection.

His daughter Makaziwe Mandela arrived in a red Range Rover, entering the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital’s Park Street gates at 10.15am.

Earlier, Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane arrived to place flowers and a card at a “wall of well-wishes”, which is fast running out of space.

Maimane said he wanted to express his gratitude to the anti-apartheid icon and to show support for the medical team caring for him.

“Nelson Mandela is not only the former president, the liberator. There’s an overwhelming feeling in the country when all of us think about what is happening here.

“We’ve come to relay our thoughts to the family as well,” Maimane said on his way to the Celliers Street entrance.

The Salvation Army also showed its support for the former president.

“This is a struggle of an old man who left a mark for the country; we say to him that God loves him. Lift up your head and look up to God and don’t lose hope,” said Salvation Army leader William Langa.

He and the Salvation Army choir sang and prayed outside the hospital for Mandela’s recovery.

Well-wishers of different nationalities also arrived at the hospital to place flowers and messages of hope.

“We just want to him to get better,” Spaniard Lupita Marcos, now living in South Africa, said with tears in her eyes.

On Wednesday, the presidency announced that President Jacob Zuma had cancelled a scheduled trip to Mozambique on Thursday, after visiting Mandela and finding him “still in a critical condition”.

Zuma was supposed to attend a Southern African Development Community regional summit.

He left the hospital at 10.15pm on Wednesday in a black BMW, escorted by a number of official cars with blue police lights.

Meanwhile, scores of journalists milled around outside the hospital.

Several, mainly international broadcasters, were conducting live crossings.

Numerous tents, generators, broadcasting cameras on tripods, and outside broadcast vans have become a feature on the street’s pavement since Mandela was admitted on June 8.

Tshwane metro police officers were parked nearby. Police and hospital guards continue to man the hospital’s entrances, and search cars entering the premises. – Sapa