Madiba ‘mak­ing progress’, sol­diers stand by in Qunu

Weekend Witness - - News - HILDA FOURIE and ERIKA GIB­SON

SOL­DIERS in the East­ern Cape have been placed on standby at Qunu, home­town of former pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela.

Although sev­eral sources have said it is not go­ing well with Madiba, pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Mac Ma­haraj said in a state­ment yes­ter­day that Man­dela was in “good spir­its” as he con­tin­ued his hospi­tal stay to re­ceive treat­ment for a re­cur­ring lung in­fec­tion.

“Man­dela is in good spir­its and en­joyed a full break­fast this morn­ing,” said Ma­haraj. “The doc­tors report that he is mak­ing steady progress.”

Ma­haraj said Man­dela re­mained un­der treat­ment and ob­ser­va­tion af­ter he was taken to an undis­closed hospi­tal just be­fore mid­night on Wed­nes­day.

On Thurs­day, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma told BBC news that peo­ple needed to “slow down the anx­i­ety”.

“In Zulu, when some­one passes away who is very old, peo­ple say he or she has gone home. I think those are some of the things we should be think­ing about,” the news ser­vice quoted him as say­ing.

From what sis­ter pa­per Beeld has learnt, the army’s sup­port el­e­ments have been on standby in the East­ern Cape for the past month.

The sol­diers — most of whom are from the Engi­neers Corps — will pro­vide elec­tric­ity, water and other lo­gis­tics in case large num­bers of peo­ple con­gre­gate at Qunu in the near fu­ture.

Ma­haraj said Man­dela would re­main un­der ob­ser­va­tion in hospi­tal.

Tweets poured in from across the world yes­ter­day to wish South Africa’s iconic leader well.

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