Johannesburg – Members of the Congress of the People (Cope) in Johannesburg held a night vigil at a Pretoria hospital on Christmas eve to pray for former president Nelson Mandela's speedy recovery, the party said on Wednesday.
The hospital's staff and patients were among those who joined Cope members in the event, said councillor Preddy Mothopeng.
“We prayed, sang both Christmas and revolutionary songs with candles, while we wished him and others (patients) a speedy recovery, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” said Mothopeng.
President Jacob Zuma said Mandela was “looking much better” and in high spirits on Tuesday.
He said in a statement that he had visited the former statesman to wish him a merry christmas.
“He was happy to have visitors on this special day and is looking much better. The doctors are happy with the progress that he is making,” Zuma said.
“We found him in good spirits. He shouted my clan name, Nxamalala, as I walked into the ward.”
Zuma said Mandela's family had been appreciative of the support they had received from the South African public.
“That is what keeps them going at this difficult time,” Zuma said.
Mandela spent Christmas Day in hospital in Pretoria, having been flown there from his Eastern Cape home at Qunu on December 8.
He was diagnosed with a lung infection and also underwent gallstone surgery.
His current stay in hospital is his longest since he was freed over two decades ago.
Mothopeng said the party was grateful to the nation and to the international community for being in solidarity with them towards Mandela's speedy recovery.
“South Africa is a blessed nation because of its diversity and a great nation because of leaders such as Tata Madiba,” he said. – Sapa