News Column

Nelson Mandela Stable, Says S. Africa President Zuma

July 4, 2013

Johannesburg (dpa) - South Africa President Jacob Zuma visited Nelson Mandela in hospital on Thursday and said the anti-apartheid icon "remains critical but stable."

"We appreciate all the love and compassion. Madiba is receiving the best medical care from a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals who are at his bedside around the clock," said Zuma, using Mandela's clan name.

Mandela's family, in court documents submitted last week, have indicated the first black South African president is on life-support machines to aid his breathing.

The 94-year-old was admitted to hospital on June 8 for a recurring lung infection. The condition of his lungs - which were weakened during his incarceration as a political prisoner under Apartheid - has since deteriorated.

Meanwhile, the Mandela family is being rocked by internal disputes over where to bury Nelson Mandela when he passes.

The remains of three of Mandela's children are expected to be reburied later in the day in Qunu, the family's ancestral village, after they were exhumed on Wednesday from the village of Mvezo.

The remains were moved from Qunu to Mvezo in 2011 by Mandla Mandela, the former president's grandson, apparently without permission from the rest of the family and in the hope that Nelson Mandela would also be buried there, turning Mvezo into a tourist attraction.

It is believed Nelson Mandela has expressed his wish to be buried near other family members in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape province in the remote, rural south-east of the country.

At the same time, there are ongoing financial disputes within the family over control of the Mandela trust. The various disagreements have split the family.

The mud-slinging between family members - including public allegations of infidelity and children born out of wedlock - has sparked concern in South Africa.

Chief Phathekile Holomisa, the head of the Council of Traditional Leaders, an influential forum, went on local television to urge the family to sit down for talks.

"My appeal would be to all of them... is that they must go back home and talk among themselves as a family," he told broadcaster Enca.

The call followed on the heels of public reprimands by leaders of the governing African National Congress (ANC).

"They need to take a chapter out of Madiba's life and learn how to find peace against all odds. This ability is the reason why Nelson Mandela and other comrades were able to deliver our freedom," ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said this week.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH