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Media asked to move cars outside hospital

28 June 2013, 13:00Mmalegabe Motsepe, Sapa

Pretoria - Reporters were given an hour on Friday morning to remove their cars from the road outside the Park Street entrance to the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, where former president Nelson Mandela is critically ill.

Tshwane metro police told journalists the vehicles posed a "security risk" to the hospital.

An official claiming to be the director of the Tshwane metro police, said the media were contravening the city's parking by-laws.

Asked how they were doing that, the officer told journalists to "look it up".

The Park Street entrance is where reporters have kept watch since Mandela was admitted on June 8 with a recurring lung infection.

It is also the entrance used by the Mandela family, government officials, President Jacob Zuma, and others to enter the hospital.

By 11:20 none of the reporters had moved their vehicles.

Celliers Street, where the hospital's exit is, has been cordoned off to traffic.

Former president Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe Mandela criticised the foreign media on Thursday, calling them "vultures" in an SABC television interview. She said the foreign media contingent camped outside the hospital were failing to respect African custom and the family's feelings.

"There is an element of racism to their attitude," she told the national broadcaster.

"It is like, truly, vultures waiting when the lion has devoured the buffalo, waiting there, you know, for the last carcasses. That is the image that we have as a family," she told SABC television.

"It is very crass. The fact that my dad is a global icon, one of the 25 most influential people of the 20th century, does not mean that people cannot respect the privacy and dignity of my dad.

"And, I don't want to say this, but I am going to say it: there is sort of a racist element with many of the foreign media where they just cross boundaries."

She accused news crews of obstructing entry to the hospital.

"You have no idea what is happening at the hospital.... You can't even enter the hospital or you can't even go out of the hospital because they are making themselves such a nuisance.

"We don't mind the interest, but I just think it has gone overboard... They violate all boundaries.

"I think at this point in time, as a family, as an African, I know at this time you have to be in peace, you have to have a sense of decorum, that is what is required, and I don't know how people come here and just violate everything."



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