Pretoria - Former president Nelson Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital in Pretoria, his granddaughter Ndileka Mandela said on Tuesday, adding that the anti-apartheid icon was “stable”.
“He is stable,” Ndileka told AFP by telephone from Qunu, where members of his close family and chiefs of the Abathembu royal family had gathered on Tuesday morning.
The meeting follows an urgent call reportedly made by his children, a Sapa correspondent reported.
Among those who arrived at the homestead in the Eastern Cape were Mandla Mandela, Thanduxolo Mandela and Ndaba Mandela.
Also there was chief Bhovulengwe, of the Abathembu royal council.
The meeting had yet to start by 10.30am. It was delayed because some family members were not aware of the meeting, and attempts were being made to contact them.
Earlier some Mandela family members arrived at the hospital in Pretoria, where Mandela is a patient.
Just before 10.30am, a black Jeep was let into the hospital's Park Street entrance without being searched.
Cars with military registration plates and those carrying Mandela family members, politicians, and government officials were the only vehicles allowed onto the premises without first being searched.
The hospital's security guards and police officers were at the main entrances.
Meanwhile white doves were released near the hospital’s Celliers Street entrance.
Businessman Calvern Hugo released about 60 birds, 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.
“We are really appreciative of what you have done for us as a nation. What you have done will echo throughout the generations to come.”
Journalists, members of the public, and hospital staff came to look as Hugo released the birds.
The gesture took place near the wall that has been adorned with pink and red flowers, balloons, and many handmade get-well cards.
- Sapa and AFP