CAPE TOWN – South Africa is bracing for the worst after it was reported that Nelson Mandela’s health has deteriorated since being airlifted to hospital on Saturday.
On Sunday, South African leaders issued more assurances about Mandela’s condition after a source close to the former president’s family toldThe Sunday Times — a South African newspaper — that “he [Mandela] has not been talking … he is not looking good. It’s clear that something is troubling him.”
The 94 year-old was previously hospitalized in February this year following complaints of persistent abdominal pain.
Mandela is now spending a second day at the Pretoria hospital after being flown there from his home in Qunu, a village in the impoverished Eastern Cape province.
While Mandela undergoes tests, leaders in the country are said to be keen to allay rising fears among the populace about his medical condition.
South African president, Jacob Zuma, who has visited Mandela since he was admitted to hospital said he “found him [Mandela] comfortable and and in good care.”
A spokesman for Mr Zuma, Mac Maharaj, also said Mr Mandela was “doing well.”
No further details about the reason’s for Mandela’s hospitalization have been released, or when he could be discharged.
On Saturday, Mr Mandela’s former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi, reportedly attended a football match in Soweto, leading some to speculate that Mandela may not be in a critical condition.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions, an organization allied to the ruling African National Congress party (ANC), said in a statement:
“We hope that it is true – as reported by the presidential spokesperson – that there is no cause for concern or alarm.”
Mandela’s last public appearance was at the final of the 2010 World Cup, which South Africa hosted, when he toured the stadium with his third wife, Graca Machel.
However, Mandela, did receive the former US President Bill Clinton and his wife, the US secretary of state, Hilary for a brief visit in August.