Nobel Peace Prize winning former President of the South African people, Nelson Mandela, is now listed in critical condition, according to the South African government, as his health has continually deteriorated over late Saturday (June 22) evening and early Sunday morning (June 23).
The 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader has been battling a lung infection and had been listed in "serious but stable condition" since he entered the hospital on June 8.
"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands," South African Jacob Zuma said in a statement, using Mandela's tribal nickname. Zuma appealed to South Africans and the rest of the world to pray for Mandela, his family and the medical team that is treating him.
Zuma also reiterated that Mandela's health was not compromised when the ambulance that was bringing him to the hospital on June 8 broke down.
"There were seven doctors in the convoy who were in full control of the situation throughout the period. He had expert medical care," Zuma said. "The fully equipped military ICU ambulance had a full complement of specialist medical staff including intensive care specialists and ICU nurses. The doctors also dismissed the media reports that Madiba suffered cardiac arrest. There is no truth at all in that report."
Mandela was forced to wait for a second ambulance after the first one broke down, the South African government admitted on Saturday.
Nelson Mandela was jailed for 27 years under white racist rule, and was released in 1990. He then played a leading role in steering a racially divided South Africa from the apartheid era to a democratic era, becoming South Africa's first black president in an all-race election, serving from 1994-1999.