TODAY

TODAY   |  June 27, 2013

Mandela’s health worsens; crowds gather at hospital

NBC’s Keir Simmons reports from outside the Pretoria, South Africa, hospital where Nelson Mandela is being treated, as the presidential spokesman says “it doesn’t look good” and Mandela’s daughter asks people to respect his privacy.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> there is a crowd growing outside the hospital in pretoria, south africa where, of course, nelson mandela has been hospitalized for several days now. his family is gathering flowers from well wishers a short time ago and people are very, very concerned about his health this morning.

>> let's get right to our reporter outside the hospital in pretoria. with very little official information coming out on the health of nelson mandela a lot of reporters are forced to read the tea leaves if you will. what are you seeing this morning?

>> hey, matt this morning. a very dramatic development this morning. the presidential spokesman saying that nelson mandela is still responding though saying it doesn't look good. you can see the crowds behind me. we just take a closer look. i'll read you a little more of the quote because it is so important. he said i won't lie. it doesn't look good. but if we speak to him he responds and tries to open his eyes. he is still there. he might be waning but he is still there. at the same time we've been told the president of the country is here. he canceled a trip to neighborineighbor ing mozambique today.

>> there is an article in the "new york times" today that talks about the growing press population there where you are and the tension among the people. are you seeing any evidence of that?

>> reporter: we certainly are. you can see the crowds outside and some of the family came out early on and took flowers back in to the hospital, but nelson mandela 's daughter has given an interview this morning in which she is very critical. she describes some of the foreign media as vultures and suggests that because this is africa nelson mandela is being treated in a different way than perhaps another elder statesman. she says the fact that my dad is a global icon doesn't mean people can't respect his privacy and dignity. matt, we have been very careful through the week to report what we know and respect their privacy. it is worth remembering this is a family that has been through so much, sacrificed so much through the apartheid years. not just their father, nelson mandela but they themselves. they didn't see him for the 27 years he was in prison mostly and this is of course now a very difficult time for them.

>> all right. in south africa this morning we continue to monitor the health of nelson mandela . thank you very much.