South Africa: Mandela Remains Critical – Zuma

Former president Nelson Mandela’s condition remains critical, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

“Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital and doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort,” Zuma said in Johannesburg.

Zuma and deputy ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa visited Mandela at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Sunday night.

“… I was told by the doctors, that Madiba’s health had changed in the past 24 hours and he was now critical,” Zuma said.

“They were doing everything… to make him feel comfortable.”

Mandela was asleep when Zuma visited.

“It was late when we got to the hospital and he was already asleep. We were there, looked at him, and we saw him,” he said.

“We had a discussion with the doctors and his [Mandela’s] wife, Graca Machel… and then we left.”

Zuma said he was not in a position to give further details.

Answering questions from reporters, Zuma said Mandela’s condition would not affect United States President Barack Obama’s planned visit to South Africa.

“If there was such a visit… and somebody fell sick, I don’t think we would stop the visit… So we [are] not going to stop because Madiba is sick,” Zuma said.

“So Obama is coming… ,” Zuma said.

Obama was due to arrive in South Africa on Friday.

In reply to another question about Mandela’s condition, Zuma reiterated: “I am not a doctor… when a person is critical, he is critical… I am not in a position to say how critical… .”

Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital on June 8 for treatment of a recurring lung infection.

The briefing by Zuma was initially scheduled as an off-the-record editors’ briefing on the economy and youth, but evolved into a fully fledged press conference.


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