During the early hours of Saturday morning, former President Nelson Mandela started experiencing worrisome symptoms of his lung condition. According to reports, he was rushed to a hospital in Pretoria where doctors were able to stabilize him.
South Africans go into a state of uncertainty and panic whenever the international icon is admitted to hospital. Many in the public and the media think that the presidency is not forthcoming about Mandela’s health. Spokesperson for the presidency, Mac Maharaj, said that the former president is in a “serious but stable condition”.
Two months ago, Nelson Mandela was in hospital for nine days during which doctors tried to treat his recurring lung problems. In March, he spent a day in hospital for a check-up. During the festive season last year, Mandela had to be provided with high care at his Johannesburg residence after spending three weeks in hospital. Nelson Mandela also has an abdominal ailment that has been troubling him for a long time.
In April, President Jacob Zuma and other ANC leaders descended on Mandela’s home, with a camera crew in tow, to visit the elderly and frail former president of the ANC. The visit was broadcast live on SABC for the whole world to see. Public reaction to that visit was that the ANC was using the ill Mandela in a bid to garner favor with voters and show that Mandela was still a big part of the ANC and not the DA. Shortly before the visit, the Democratic Alliance had launched the ‘Know Your DA’ campaign with posters depicting Nelson Mandela and Helen Suzman.
This time around, President Jacob Zuma feels it is necessary to respect Mandela’s privacy. Maharaj pleaded: “President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of government and the nation, wishes Madiba a speedy recovery and requests the media and the public to respect the privacy of Madiba and his family.”
Mandela, who has been embroiled in a legal battle with his children, is “currently receiving expert medical care”. The presidency has asked the world to pray for him as his condition is serious.