Washington: As South Africa prayed for former African President Nelson Mandela, who spent his eighth day in hospital, his ex-bodyguard wished to `set him free.`
Mandela spent his eighth day in the hospital on Saturday, and comments by his family members and government officials indicate his condition is serious but improving.
Now a former bodyguard who has been with Mandela for the last 12 years speaking out to CBS News said his wishes are not being respected.
Shaun van Heerden has been placed on special leave by the South African police over accusations that he leaked details of where Mandela is being treated, though he has denied the charge.
Van Heerden said that over the past few months, as Mandela`s health has deteriorated, access to him by visitors has been restricted by his medical team.
He said Mandela is very lonely and believed the anti-apartheid hero would not want to spend his last days in a hospital.
He also accused the medical team of Mandela of controlling visits like prison guards.
He said that Mandela should be taken home and if he has to close his eyes, so be it, adding set him free. As tough as it is, let us set him free.