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Mandela hospital a hive of activity

A man walks past messages of support for Nelson Mandela outside the Pretoria hospital where Mandela is being treated. Photo: Mike Hutchings, Reuters

A man walks past messages of support for Nelson Mandela outside the Pretoria hospital where Mandela is being treated. Photo: Mike Hutchings, Reuters

Published Jun 25, 2013

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Pretoria - Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba has left the Pretoria hospital where former president Nelson Mandela is still in a critical condition on Tuesday.

Makgoba left the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital through the Park Street entrance in a dark Audi SUV.

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A poster reading: “We (heart) you Mandela” was erected outside the entrance alongside a message reading: “It only seems impossible until it's done - Nelson Mandela”.

The boards were erected by sticker company owner Heleen Donnolly.

“We just want to thank him for being there for the country,” Donnolly said.

At the Celliers Street entrance, businessman Kenny Kunene arrived to place flowers and speak to the media. After Kunene's visit, more Tshwane metro police officers arrived at the entry point.

They cordoned off Celliers Street where it meets with Park Street.

Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa arrived to check on the police officers and left after a brief discussion with them.

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Earlier in the day, the presidency confirmed that Mandela remained in a critical condition.

“(Mandela's) condition remains unchanged in hospital, and doctors continue to do their best to ensure his recovery, wellbeing, and comfort,” spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

Trainee police officers arrived at the hospital earlier on Tuesday to leave flowers and offer their well-wishes to the critically ill former president. They arrived in a marked bus which blocked a part of Park Street, and made their way to the entrance in Celliers Street.

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Some of their messages quoted Bible verses. A tribute read: “We as members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) believe there is healing in Jesus, and we trust he will heal our beloved Madiba.”

SAPS Academy commander Brigadier Noma Binqela said the gesture was intended to extend sympathy and well-wishes to Mandela.

“We wanted them (trainees) to see that we are not only police officers for crime, but we are part of the community of this country. The flowers are the only way we can show our appreciation to our former president,” she said.

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Businessman Calvern Hugo released about 60 white doves near the Celliers Street entrance, in recognition of Mandela's contribution to the country's freedom.

“It was a few minutes of sacrifice that we took out of our busy schedules to say thank you for the sacrifices he took for the nation as a whole,” Hugo said.

Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela arrived shortly after 12.30pm with her daughter Zindzi Mandela-Motlhajwa.

Other relatives were in a meeting called by some of Mandela's children at his home in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape. Among those at the homestead were Mandla Mandela, Thanduxolo Mandela, Ndaba Mandela and Ndileka Mandela.

Family elder Napilisi Mandela confirmed they would discuss delicate matters pertaining to the anti-apartheid icon. - Sapa

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