“Doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort,” Mr. Zuma told a news conference in Johannesburg, but he gave few details about Mr. Mandela’s condition, saying he had no further information.
Mr. Zuma spoke as South Africans and admirers around the world awaited word on the condition of Mr. Mandela, the iconic leader who played a towering role in his country’s transition from white minority rule under the system of apartheid to multiracial democracy in 1994.
President Zuma said that he and Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president of the governing African National Congress, visited Mr. Mandela late on Sunday night.
“Given the hour, he was already asleep. We were there, looked at him, saw him and then we had a bit of a discussion with the doctors and his wife,” Mr. Zuma said. “I don’t think I’m in a position to give further details. I’m not a doctor.”
Doctors told President Zuma on Sunday evening that Mr. Mandela’s health “had become critical over the past 24 hours,” according to an earlier statement from the presidency.
In the statement Sunday, Mr. Zuma said that doctors were doing “everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable.” Madiba is Mr. Mandela’s clan name.
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