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Friday, June 28, 2013
ANC Supporters drive past the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria where former president Nelson Mandela is being treated.
Thousands of ANC supporters descended on the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital this evening to pray for former president Nelson Mandela’s speedy recovery.
Tshwane mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa and the ANC regional leadership led ANC supporters in song, dance and prayer as the night vigil largely resembled a political rally.
Over 30 buses started arriving from around 4pm this afternoon, ferrying supporters who wore ANC colours, waving the party’s flag and singing struggle songs associated with he 94-year-old, who is in a critical but stable condition in the hospital.
Most ANC supporters said they were not concerned about perceptions that their behavior would be viewed as electioneering, and dismissed criticism that the party was attempting to gain political traction from Mandela’s hospitalisation ahead of next year’s elections.
Traffic grounded to a halt as buses, with supporters hanging from windows, used the busy Park Street, adjacent to the hospital, to drop off the supporters who marched up and down Celliers Street before gathering at the nearby lawns of the Pretoria Art Museum.
The ANC leadership, including City of Tshwane chief whip Jabu Mabona, addressed throngs of ANC members, mostly from Soshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Mamelodi and Atteridgeville, while perched on a stage erected at the back of a truck.
The truck was decorated in ANC posters with party president Jacob Zuma’s image.