Media remain at Mandela hospital

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IOL mot jun22 media camping Independent Newspapers Journalists at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where Nelson Mandela is being treated. File photo: Phill Magakoe

Scores of journalists remained outside the Pretoria hospital where former president Nelson Mandela was spending his 15th day on Saturday.

Four broadcast cameras were filming the Medi-Clinic Heart hospital's entrance along Park Street.

At least six broadcast vehicles were stationed near the facility's other entrance on Celliers Street.

Before 2pm, a group of Mandela's relatives arrived at the hospital led by Zaziwe Dlamini-Mandela's husband, American businessman David Manaway. Zaziwe is a granddaughter of the ailing anti-apartheid icon.

The catalogue of get-well-soon cards, balloons and flowers had grown rapidly on the hospital's security wall.

Some of the flower bouquets were placed in jars of water.

A message printed on an Ethiopian flag read: “ We love you our father, Madiba”.

Another message read: “Tata, you are stronger than anything. I am what I am today because of you. From Karabo Chilwane and Magret Moila in Limpopo”.

Some well-wishers had pasted several pictures including those of Mandela, flowers, heart designs and popular cartoon character Winnie the Pooh.

Earlier on Saturday, the presidency confirmed that the military ambulance that transported Mandela to hospital two weeks ago broke down due to “engine problems”.

“All care was taken to ensure that Madiba's medical condition was not compromised by the unforeseen incident,” spokesman Mac Maharaj said.

“Doctors attending to Madiba are satisfied that the former president suffered no harm during this period.”

Mandela, 94, was hospitalised in the early hours of June 8 with a recurring lung infection.

Maharaj said the fully equipped military ICU (intensive care unit) ambulance had a specialised medical staff on board including intensive care specialists and ICU nurses. It was accompanied by two quick response vehicles.

“When the ambulance experienced engine problems it was decided to transfer to another military ambulance,” he said.

On Friday, Mandela's grandson Ndaba Mandela was quoted in The Star as saying the ailing former statesman was expected to be discharged “soon”.

Ndaba said his family was grateful for Madiba's life and they were not ready to contemplate his death.

“Only God can take him... but for us, as family, as long as he can still hear and understand what is said to him, and talk to us, we'll continue to celebrate him.”

On Friday, United States-based CBS News reported that Mandela's liver and kidneys were functioning at 50 percent, and that the ailing former statesman had two procedures, one to repair a bleeding ulcer and another to insert a tube.

According to the report, Mandela had not opened his eyes in days and was unresponsive.

However, Maharaj said the presidency has been the “source for authoritative reporting on Mandela's health”.

“Our reports are based on the reports we receive from doctors. We avoid clinical details because we want to ensure no transgression into the privacy of Mandela and his family is ensured,” Maharaj said.

“The presidency needs to ensure the dignity of the former president and need to ensure the circumstances are not surrounded by undignified speculative reports.”

He said Mandela remained in a serious but stable condition in hospital. -Sapa



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