Johannesburg - Newspapers speculated on the health of former
president Nelson Mandela on Monday morning, more than two days since the last
update on his condition was made public.
"Mandela Lockdown", read The Star newspaper's
front page headline, accompanied by a report on his family apparently banning
government and senior African National Congress officials from visiting the
Without citing sources, The Star said it
"understood" that the family had barred visitors.
It quoted "three highly placed government sources"
who said Mandela's condition was "scary".
No new updates
The presidency issued a statement on Saturday morning,
saying he was in a "serious but stable" condition after being admitted
to a Pretoria hospital early on Saturday morning due to a recurring lung
But since then, no official update has been available.
The Times newspaper reported on Monday morning that there
had been no change in his condition.
"No news as world holds its breath," read the
Beeld quoted ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu as saying
nobody knew when "God would call Madiba".
The Sowetan's front page read: "Nation unites in
prayer", quoting unnamed family members saying his condition had not
changed and was "still serious".
Meanwhile, Wikipedia's page on Mandela was vandalised, and
"updated", saying he died on 9 June, but this was quickly fixed
At the weekend, a fake Twitter account using talk show host
Piers Morgan's name, announced the "tragic news" that Mandela had
died in his sleep. This was retweeted more than 1 300 times. But it soon became
clear in the Twitter-sphere that the tweet was a hoax.
Mandela has been in and out of hospital in the past few
years. In April this year, he spent nine days in hospital receiving treatment
for recurring lung problems.
In December last year, Mandela underwent an operation to remove
gallstones and treat the recurring lung infection. He was discharged after an
18-day stay and placed under home-based high care at his Houghton home.
In January, the presidency said Mandela had made a full
recovery from the surgery and continued to improve. In February last year he
was admitted to hospital for a stomach ailment.
In January 2011, a virtual void of information marked
Mandela's admission to Johannesburg specialist care Milpark Hospital. With very
little information to go on at that time, speculation was rife and reports of
his death started running on social networks.
Finally, on 28 January 2011, Deputy President Kgalema
Motlanthe and Surgeon General Vejaynand Ramlakan addressed a media briefing on
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which customarily managed
publicity for the 94-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, only broke its silence
on Monday 31 January.
This was after then Sunday Independent editor Makhudu Sefara
wrote an item called "The making of an unnecessary crisis".