25 Jun 2013

Obama trip to South Africa to go ahead

4:10 pm on 25 June 2013

A visit by US President Barack Obama to South Africa this week will go ahead despite the failing health of Nelson Mandela.

The former president of South Africa is being treated for a recurring chest infection a Pretoria hospital and remains in a critical condition.

President Jacob Zuma said he has visited the 94-year-old and the doctors are doing what they can.

Mr Zuma has again urged the country to pray for Mr Mandela, but a Radio New Zealand correspondent said people are realising he is very sick and are resigned to his failing health.

Mr Mandela's eldest daughter, Maki Mandela, said the family wants privacy.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand priest says South Africans are united in deep emotion.

Father Michael Lapsley is an Anglican priest who works for the Institute for Healing of Memories in Cape Town and is New Zealand's honorary consul.

He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Tuesday there is a growing acceptance that Nelson Mandela has entered the final round of his battle to survive.