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Emotional well-wishers at Mandela hospital

27 June 2013, 14:58

Pretoria - The Salvation Army showed its support for critically-ill former president Nelson Mandela at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Thursday.

"This is a struggle of an old man who left the a mark for the country; we say to him that God loves him.

Lift up your head and look up to God and don't lose hope," said Salvation Army leader William Langa.

He and the Salvation Army choir, sang and prayed outside the hospital for Mandela's recovery.

Well-wishers of different nationalities also arrived at the hospital to place flowers and messages of hope at a 'wall of wishes', which was fast running out of space.

"We just want to him to get better," Spaniard Lupita Marcos, now living in South Africa, said with tears in her eyes.

On Wednesday, the presidency announced that President Jacob Zuma had cancelled a scheduled trip to Mozambique on Thursday, after visiting Mandela and finding him "still in a critical condition".

Zuma was supposed to attend a Southern African Development Community regional summit.

He left the hospital at 22:15 on Wednesday in a black BMW, escorted by a number of official cars with blue police lights.

Meanwhile, scores of journalists milled around outside the hospital. Several, mainly international broadcasters, were conducting live crossings near the hospital's Celliers Street entrance.

Numerous tents, generators, broadcasting cameras on tripods, and outside broadcast vans have become a feature on the street's pavement since Mandela was admitted for a recurring lung infection on 8 June.

Tshwane metro police officers were parked nearby.

Police and hospital guards continue to man the hospital's entrances, and search cars entering the premises.



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