President Zuma urges S/Africans to pray for Mandela

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – President Jacob Zuma on Monday urged all South Africans to pray for Nelson Mandela, the ailing world statesman who is now in a critical condition at a Pretoria hospital.

President Zuma, who visited the country’s first democratically-elected leader late Sunday, told a media briefing in Johannesburg that Mandela was sleeping when he visited.

“We should accept the fact that he is now old. As he ages, his health will trouble him and I think what we need to do as a country is to pray for him," President Zuma said.

He refused to be drawn into Mandela’s health condition, saying “I am not a doctor”.

Mandela was admitted to the hospital 17 days ago with a recurring lung infection.

There has been a growing number of family members making their way to Mandela’s bedside, including his former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who was seen arriving on Monday afternoon.

His current wife Graca Machel is keeping a constant vigil at his bedside.

There is now a large contingent of local and foreign media representatives outside the hospital.

Millions of South Africans on Monday recalled the 18th anniversary of South Africa winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup when Mandela’s gesture of wearing the Springbok rugby jersey and presenting the Webb Ellis trophy to the team’s white captain Francois Pienaar was seen as a major symbol of reconciliation.

Ironically, Mandela's last public appearance was at the final of the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg. He played a pivotal role in getting South Africa the rights to host the event.
-0- PANA CU/VAO 24June2013

24 june 2013 17:33:37




xhtml CSS