No new news on Madiba’s health

As dawn broke over Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Thursday, journalists camping outside the facility had no clue about former president Nelson Mandela’s health condition.

There was no word from any officials regarding his health.

He was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday afternoon for what were described as routine tests.

By the evening, a veil of silence was drawn over his condition. Staff at the hospital declined to speak to journalists who descended on the premises for news on the elder statesman.

By 7:30pm, the only formal word on the condition of 92-year-old Mandela remained a short statement issued by Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesperson Sello Hatang at about 4:15pm.


It stated: “We can confirm that Mr Mandela is at Milpark Hospital undergoing routine tests. He is in no danger and is in good spirits.”

Hatang did not answer his cellphone for follow-up questions.

Mandela’s daughter, Makaziwe, from his first wife, Evelyn, said: “You got the statement? No further comment.”

Members of the Mandela family were seen coming and going at the hospital by reporters.

A staffer from French news agency Agence France-Presse saw Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, leaving the hospital at about 5:30pm, with four other family members departing shortly after.

Another report said she returned later in the evening.

VIP area
At a far corner of the hospital, a makeshift barrier of green mesh was erected. Inside the area were VIP cars, presumably belonging to family members.

As night fell, journalists, photographers and cameramen lined a nearby bridge outside the hospital, which gave them a full view of the barricaded area.

Later in the evening, metro police told them to move off the bridge. Some then took up position in the hospital parking lot.

One of Mandela’s grandsons was seen buying magazines and refreshments at the hospital eatery. Ndaba Mandela and his youngest brother were also seen near the barricaded area.

Mandela’s long-time aide, Zelda la Grange, flanked by a bodyguard, entered the barricaded area.

Hospital security remained on high alert.

By 10.30pm, the immediate vicinity of the hospital had grown quiet, including the area around the barricade.

Mandela’s “routine tests” came a day after Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that Mandela was “frail”. “I saw him last week,” Tutu said in Cape Town on Tuesday. “He was all right, I mean he’s 92, man, you know. And he’s frail.” – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Institutions of higher learning should commemorate their casualties

The bust of Matikweni Nkuna at Tshwane University of Technology is an example of how we should honour those who fought for equal access to education

Seals abort pups in mass die-off

There are a number of factors — a pollutant, virus or bacteria or malnutrition — that may have caused the 12 000 deaths on Namibia’s coast.

Deconstructing South Africa’s construction industry performance

The construction industry has contracted sharply, partly due to Covid, and needs to rebalance its focus if it wants to survive

Editorial: SA will be bankrupted by looters

The chickens have finally come home to roost: if we do not end the looting, it will end us

Zuma vs Ramaphosa? Neither is the leader South Africans deserve

Neither statesman could command sufficient authority in an ANC that remains mired in corruption and infighting and at the behest of big capital

E-payments for the unbanked are booming

The pandemic is providing mobile phone network operators with a unique chance to partner with fintech firms and banks to deliver clever e-commerce solutions to the informal sector in Africa
Advertising

Subscribers only

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

More top stories

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Catholic NGO boss accused of racism and abuse in Sudan

The aid worker allegedly called his security guard a ‘slave’

Agrizzi too ill to be treated at Bara?

The alleged crook’s “health emergency” — if that is what it is — shows up the flaws, either in our health system or in our leadership as a whole

SANDF hid R200m expenditure on ‘Covid’ drug it can’t use

Military health officials are puzzled by the defence department importing a drug that has not been approved for treating coronavirus symptoms from Cuba
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday