South Africans on Monday (June 24) waited for news on former President Nelson Mandela's health, after the presidency said his condition had worsened.

Mandela's condition deteriorated to "critical" on Sunday (June 23), the government said, two weeks after the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader was admitted to hospital with a lung infection.

A government statement said President Jacob Zuma and the deputy leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Cyril Ramaphosa, visited Mandela in his Pretoria hospital, where doctors said his condition had gone downhill in the last 24 hours.

"I'm hoping he gets well, he is in our prayers every time so, yeah, hopefully he will get better. We know he will, he is in our thoughts, in our prayers everytime," said local resident, Nerissa, standing near the Heart Hospital Mediclinic where Mandela is being treated.

Until Sunday, his condition was described as "serious but stable" although comments last week from Mandela family members and his presidential successor, Thabo Mbeki, suggested he was on the mend.

Andronica, a local resident near to the hospital, said a post-Mandela future was one full of uncertainty for the country.

"Well, I don't know what will happen if he passed away, I don't know what will happen to this nation, I don't know, to this country, I don't know," he said.

"But I think in time, we can learn to accept it you know and move forward but for now, I don't know," he added.

Mandela's last public appearance was waving to fans from the back of a golf cart before the final of the football World Cup in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium in July 2010.

Presented by Adam Justice