Pretoria - US President Barack Obama's South African schedule does not include a visit to former president Nelson Mandela.
He would take part in bilateral talks, preside over a Young African Leaders initiative meeting, and visit Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned, according to an outline of his planned activities released by the international relations department on Tuesday.
He would also visit various sites in Cape Town, and deliver an address at the University of Cape Town.
“President Obama would have loved to see Madiba,” International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters in Pretoria.
“In my country, at my age and your age, when people are ill-disposed, we try to give them space to recover,” she said of Mandela, who is in a critical condition in the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria.
If Obama had the time, he might visit Nelson Mandela Foundation representatives, said Nkoana-Mashabane.
She said life could not stop because Mandela was sick.
“He would be very disappointed if he hears that life has stopped in South Africa (because he is ill).”
She said Mandela was a fighter and everyone continued to pray for him and wish him well. - Sapa