Mandela spends fourth day in hospital

Updated: 2013-06-12 07:59

By Agencies in Johannesburg (China Daily)

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Mandela spends fourth day in hospital

Nelson Mandela was spending his fourth day in hospital on Tuesday where he is being treated in intensive care for a lung infection.

The 94-year-old former president was rushed to a Pretoria hospital early on Saturday and was said to be in a serious but stable condition.

His latest health scare has been met with prayers and a growing acceptance among South Africans that their hero may be nearing the end of his life.

"He is receiving intensive care treatment," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, who served jail time with Mandela, said on Monday.

He "remains in hospital, and his condition is unchanged", Maharaj said after describing him as being in a "serious but stable" condition.

A foundation led by retired archbishop Desmond Tutu has described Mandela as an "extraordinary gift" and offered prayers for his comfort and dignity.

Security was tightened around the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, with police cordoning off an area around the entrance, searching incoming vehicles and pedestrians.

On Monday, Mandela was visited at the hospital by his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and their daughter Zindzi.

His current wife Graca Machel has been by his bedside since his admission to hospital.

It is the fourth hospital stay in seven months for the man beloved as a global symbol of peace and forgiveness and the father of the "Rainbow Nation".

The African Union Commission chief, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said she has heard that Mandela is "responding positively to treatment".

Meanwhile access to the revered statesman has been restricted to close family members in a bid to reduce the risk of further infections.

In late April, President Jacob Zuma and top party officials were photographed with an unsmiling Mandela looking exceedingly frail at his Johannesburg home.

The visit prompted allegations that the underfire ruling party was exploiting Mandela for political gain.

The ANC - facing 2014 elections - has lost much of its Mandela shine amid widespread corruption, poverty and poor public services.

The party and the government denied local media reports that they had been barred from visiting Mandela in hospital by the former leader's entourage.

Mandela, who turns 95 next month, has not been seen in public since the World Cup final in South Africa in July 2010 and has not been politically active for years.

Mandela's lengthy absence from the spotlight has forced his adoring country to envisage what their hard-won and often fraught multi-racial democracy means without the man who forged it.

"I think there will be concerns from outside South Africa that Mandela is seen as the glue that holds South Africa together," analyst Daniel Silke said.

"But I think that this is something long gone, frankly."


(China Daily USA 06/12/2013 page5)