JOHANNESBURG – Former South African President Nelson Mandela remains in critical condition Monday in a Pretoria hospital, described by South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma as being “asleep” when he visited the stricken anti-apartheid hero Sunday evening.
Zuma told at least 60 foreign and South African journalists that doctors are doing everything possible to ensure the 94-year-old’s well-being and comfort on his 17th day in the hospital. The president repeated some of the content of a statement issued Sunday and refused to give any further details about Mandela’s condition, saying: “I’m not a doctor.”
Using the term of affection and clan name for Mandela, Zuma told reporters, “Madiba is critical in the hospital, and this is the father of democracy. This is the man who fought and sacrificed his life to stay in prison, the longest-serving prisoner in South Africa. He is one of those who has contributed to democracy,”
Mandela was being treated for a lung infection. He has been hospitalized four times since December for respiratory problems after a history of lung issues, dating back to his time as a political prisoner on Robbin Island, according to the Times Live website.