South African President, Jacob Zuma, on Thursday night said the condition of ailing former President Nelson remains serious but continues to improve.
Mr. Zuma said after his visit to Mr. Mandela in hospital that the former president remained in critical condition, and urged the world to continue to pray for his speedy recovery.
“Madiba’s health continues to improve but his condition remains serious,” President Zuma said, according to a statement by his spokesperson, Mac Maharaj. “We continue to appeal to people to keep Madiba in their prayers and wish him a speedy recovery.”
The statement said President Zuma was accompanied on the visit to Mr. Mandela by African National Congress (ANC) Treasurer-General, Zweli Mkhize.
Mr. Mandela is spending his seventh day in a Pretoria hospital and security has been beefed up at the entrance and within the hospital premises.
Reports say more members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Metro Police have been deployed to the hospital where Mandela is believed to be on admission.
Police are searching and scanning all cars entering the hospital premises.
Mr. Mandela has been receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection in the hospital.
The South African presidency had in an earlier statement described Mr. Mandela’s condition as serious, but stable, noting that Madiba is breathing but with some difficulty.
Mr. Maharaj had said in the statement that Mr. Mandela was receiving intensive care from doctors and other members of the medical team at the hospital.
President Jacob Zuma and the ruling party, the ANC, have also urged all South African to keep praying for the anti-apartheid icon to ensure a speedy recovery.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, African Union Commission chairperson, has added the AU’s voice to the millions of well-wishes for Mandela.
The AU boss in a message wishing Mandela a speedy recovery said, “I am sending him our fervent prayers and numerous get-well-soon messages from the members of staff of the Commission, its organs and peoples of the Union.
“We are giving him courage and urging him to carry on. We will continue to pray and look forward to the Madiba’s speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery just as we also pray God to give his family strength to shoulder on in this trying times,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
Meanwhile, a South Africa newspaper, the Sowetan, has reported that Mandela’s home village of Qunu was preparing for throngs of visitors.
The newspapers report that some residents were preparing to turn their homes into home-stay accommodation, as they said there might not be enough place in the village should the ailing icon die.
Villagers, who did not want to be named, told the newspaper there were only three bed and breakfasts (B&B) in the icon’s village home.
A member of one of the families in the village said he had converted his house into a 10-bedroom Bed and Breakfast (B&B) accommodation, noting that the home had previously accommodated many foreigners who came to the village to see Mandela’s home.
Nowinothi Geledwana, 63, told the newspaper she had previously rented out some rooms in her house and expected to do so again, should there be a demand.
“I have about three to four rooms that are available and can be rented out should people prefer home-stay accommodation in Qunu.
“I really don’t know how much I will charge for them, but I’m sure I will make some profit,” Mrs. Geledwana said.
Apart from accommodation provided by residents, the Nelson Mandela Museum in the village also has accommodation for 60 people, while there is a plush guesthouse about 10 km from Qunu.
This is the third time this year that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been admitted to hospital for medical attention.
At the end of March and in April this year, he spent nine days in hospital receiving treatment for recurring lung
Earlier in March, he was admitted to a Pretoria hospital for a scheduled check-up and discharged the following day.