Nelson Mandela is in critical condition after his condition deteriorated over the weekend. The change in the former South African president’s condition was announced by President Jacob Zuma.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj announced the condition change for Mandela on Sunday, 16 days after the anti-apartheid icon entered a hospital in Pretoria.
Mandela, 94, has experienced poor health in recent months, stemming from tuberculosis he contracted while working in a prison labor camp. After he was released from prison, Nelson Mandela rallied back and became South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
President Zuma visited Mandela in the hospital on Sunday. He broke the news later on that doctors informed him “the former president’s condition had become critical over the past 24 hours.”
Zuma assured that, despite Mandela’s deteriorating health, doctors are doing everything they can to save his life. Using Mandela’s tribal name, Zuma stated:
“The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands.”
While the statement did say that Nelson Mandela is in critical condition, Zuma dispelled rumors that the former president suffered cardiac arrest. He added, “There is no truth at all in that report.”
Up until this weekend, Mandela was listed in “serious but stable condition.” He entered the hospital on June 8 for pulmonary issues. Mandela was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, which broke down on the way. He was transferred to a second military ambulance and had a civilian ambulance following just in case the trip had any other problems.
News of Nelson Mandela’s deteriorating health comes just one day after former South African president Thabo Mbeki suggested that the 94-year-old’s health was improving. The former president’s daughter, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini also told a crowd of reporters earlier this week that her father was “doing very well.”
With Nelson Mandela now listed in critical condition, it is likely that media attention will be more closely focused on Pretoria, waiting for more news on the former president’s health.