South African President Jacob Zuma to Visit Ailing Nelson Mandela
By Tendar Tsering | Jun 11, 2013 06:08 AM EDT
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is planning to visit the former president and world peace icon, Nelson Mandela, in a Pretoria hospital where he is being treated for a recurrent lung infection.
"[Zuma's] focus now is to allow the medical team every opportunity to concentrate on their job, to allow the closest relatives to go there and be close to him," said Mac Maharaj, spokesman of the South African president, according to reports.
"As head of state, President Zuma will visit at the appropriate time. We just want Madiba to get better," he said, referring to the world peace icon by his clan name.
According to the office of President Jacob Zuma, the 94-year-old former South Africa president remains in a "serious" but "stable" condition.
Nelson Mandela, who led the country's fight for freedom against the racist apartheid regime, has been vulnerable to respiratory problems since he contracted tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment under the apartheid regime.
While the whole nation is praying for his recovery, relatives of Mandela including his ex-wife Winnie Madikzela-Mandela, visited him on Monday.
His fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu sent his prayers to the family of ailing Mandela while thanking God for the "gift of Nelson Mandela."
"As the beloved father of our nation Nelson Mandela once again endures the ravages of time in hospital. Our prayers are for his comfort and his dignity," said Tutu in a statement. "We offer our thanks to God for the extraordinary gift of Mr. Mandela and wish his family strength."
Calling the former South African president an "inspiration", the U.S. President Barack Obama sent his best wishes to Nelson Mandela this March when he was hospitalized for a recurring lung infection.
"He is as strong physically as he's been in character and in leadership over so many decades, and hopefully he will ... come out of this latest challenge," said the U.S. President.
"When you think of a single individual that embodies the kind of leadership qualities that I think we all aspire to, the first name that comes up is Nelson Mandela. And so we wish him all the very best," said President Obama.