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Mandela's daughter calls media 'vultures'

DISMAYED: Makaziwe Mandela leaves after visiting the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria, South Africa (PA)

NELSON MANDELA'S eldest daughter has hit out at the intensified media frenzy surrounding her father's deteriorating health.

In an interview with a South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Makaziwe Mandela said that the media were "crossing boundaries."

She said: "The fact that my father is a global icon and is one of the 25 most influential people of the 21st century does not mean that people should not respect his privacy and dignity of my dad."

She went on to say she believed there was a "racist element" with many of foreign media outlets when they cross boundaries, insisting they know every little detail of the former president's condition.

"They don't know what's going on inside the hospital, you can't even go in and out without them being a nuisance they are like media vultures....when Margaret Thatcher was in the hospital I didn't see this kind of media...is it because we are an African country that people just feel they can't respect any laws?"

Her scathing attack comes after the Mandela's grand-daughter Ndileka confirmed that the 94-year-old condition was "critical, but stable."

After visiting the critically ill anti-apartheid leader in hospital on Thursday, Ms Mandela said that when the family communicated with the country's first black president he would respond, which gave them hope.

Since Mandela's health deteriorated over the last couple of days, the media scrutiny has intensified.

There have been a large gathering of tributes and prayers outside the hospital in Pretoria, where Mandela has spent the last three weeks in intensive care.

Ms Mandela said: "We don't mind the interest, but I just think it's overboard."

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