A day after Nelson Mandela’s daughter lashed out at the “crass” media frenzy around her ailing father, South African police today asked journalists to leave the road outside the entrance to the Pretoria hospital, where the global peace icon remains on life support.
Reporters were given an hour to remove their cars from the road outside the Park Street entrance to the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, where the 94-year-old former President was admitted 21 days ago.
Celliers Street, where the hospital’s exit is, has already been cordoned off to traffic.
Tshwane metro police told journalists that the vehicles posed a “security risk” to the hospital, SAPA news agency reported.
An official 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 Mr. 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.
Ms. Mandela’s daughter Ms. Makaziwe on Thursday criticised the foreign media, calling them “vultures”. 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 SABC.
“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 said.
“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,” said Ms. Makaziwe.
Keywords: Nelson Mandela illness, Nelson Mandela daughter, Makaziwe, South African police warning, Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital, Park Street hospital entrance, Tshwane metro police, Mandela media hounding