As Nelson Mandela spent his 29th day in a hospital on Saturday, a parliamentarian called for the nation to let the ailing former South African president "go in peace."
There has been no update on the anti-apartheid hero's condition since the government described it as "critical but stable" on Thursday.
- South African government denies Mandela in 'vegetative state'
The 94-year-old is receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection, in his fourth hospitalisation in six months, at a hospital in Pretoria.
The failing health of Mandela, a figure admired globally as a symbol of struggle against injustice and racism, has reinforced a realisation that the father of the post-apartheid South Africa will not be around forever.
Kenneth Meshoe, President of the Africa Christian Democratic Party, paid a visit on Saturday to the Mediclinic where Mandela is being treated and laid flowers at the tribute wall outside.
"While we have been praying and wishing him [Nelson Mandela} well, we at the same time have to be realistic and agree with his former friend Mr. [Andrew] Mlangeni, who said that the nation of South Africa and the family, in particular, should be willing to let him go in peace. He has done enough for us, and we believe rather than him continue to suffer in pain and discomfort, he should be released, because he has done excellent work and we are grateful for that," he told reporters.
"The time has come for us as South Africans to say: 'while we are grateful and we would like to have you [Mandela] with us forever, we know it is not possible, so we are willing to let you go in peace," he added.
Meshoe, who is also a member of the South African parliament, said he did not get a chance to see the former leader in hospital.
"He was resting, he was resting. They didn't want to wake him up so I couldn't see him. No, I did not see him," he said.
As Mandela lies in hospital, a feud between factions of his family has descended into soap opera farce, with his grandson and heir, Mandla, accusing relatives of adultery and milking the fame of the revered anti-apartheid leader.
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