Former South African president, Nelson Mandela's eldest daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, said Tuesday her family would continue to give medication to the former president, who is now in a critical condition in hospital.
The 94-year-old has been in hospital in Pretoria for 18 days and his condition has worsened in the past 24 hours.
Makaziwe Mandela revealed her father was still fighting on, and said: “In our culture, the Tembu culture, that I know, the African culture that I know, you never release the person unless the person has told you please my children, my family release me.
“My dad hasn’t said that to us. So these people who want to talk about, you know, release him, he hasn’t said we should release him and we haven’t come to the end yet.
“It is only God who knows the end,” the express.co.uk quoted her as saying after a family meeting.
In another interview with CNN, Makaziwe said: “Yes, I believe he is at peace. He is at peace with himself. He has given so much to the world; I believe he is at peace.”
South African President Jacob Zuma said Mandela is being made “comfortable” by doctors, after he paid a visit to the former president in hospital.
Zuma called on South Africans to pray for Mandela, and told journalists the former president was asleep when he saw him.
Tensions between the South African government and the media have escalated in recent days after the government's belated acknowledgement that an ambulance carrying Mandela to the hospital on June 8 broke down.
As a result, Zuma refused to give details of Mandela's condition, but said: “Madiba [Mandela's clan name] is critical in the hospital, and this is the father of democracy.
“This is the man who fought and sacrificed his life to stay in prison, the longest-serving prisoner in South Africa.”
Mandela, who became South Africa's first black president after the end of apartheid in 1994, was hospitalised for what the government said was a recurring lung infection. This is his fourth hospitalisation since December.
Mandela was jailed for 27 years under white racist rule and was released in 1990. He then played a leading role in steering the divided country from the apartheid era to an all-race democracy.
“Nelson Mandela, for me, is like my father,” Alex Siake, a South African, said in Pretoria. “Every day, I just pray that he can recover quickly and be among us again.”
The Democratic Alliance, South Africa's main opposition party, said in a statement the news that Mandela was in critical condition came “as a blow to all South Africans.”
Asked why none of Mandela's doctors had not been made available for a news briefing, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said an arrangement had been made in consultation with Mandela's family whereby information would be provided through a “single source in an authoritative way.
“We've come to that arrangement on the basis that we need to respect the privacy of the family, we need to adhere to doctor-patient confidentiality.
“You can be assured that what we are saying is based on an agreement with the doctors.”
Doctors approve the text of announcements on Mandela's health, and believe some media reporting has transgressed professional ethics, he said.