Mandela discharged from hospital
Published 01/09/2013 | 10:16
Nelson Mandela has returned went home in an ambulance after nearly three months in hospital - but authorities said the health of the former South African president remained critical and sometimes unstable.
The return of the 95-year-old leader of the anti-apartheid movement to his home in Johannesburg allows his family to share time with him in a more intimate setting.
The office of South African President Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela will receive the same level of intensive care that he did in the hospital, administered by the same doctors.
Mr Zuma's office said the team of doctors treating Mr Mandela, also known by his clan name Madiba, is "convinced that he will receive the same level of intensive care at his Houghton home that he received in Pretoria. His home has been reconfigured to allow him to receive intensive care there".
Mr Mandela was admitted to the hospital on June 8 for what the government described as a recurring lung infection. Legal papers filed by his family said he was on life support, and many South Africans feared the man widely viewed as the "father of the nation" was close to death.
One of Mandela's grandsons, Mandla Mandela, said the former president's return home was a "day of celebration" for the family.
His discharge was "particularly heartening because it flies in the face of those who have been busy spreading lies that he was in a 'vegetative state' and just waiting for his support machines to be switched off," the South African Press Association quoted Mandla Mandela as saying.
The African National Congress, South Africa's ruling party, welcomed the hospital discharge of its former leader. "We believe that receiving treatment at home will afford him continuous support from his family and loved ones," it said in a statement.
Mr Zuma's office said Mr Mandela "vacillated between serious to critical and at times unstable" during his stay in hospital and that "despite the difficulties imposed by his various illnesses, he, as always, displays immense grace and fortitude."
It added: "Madiba has been treated by a large medical team from the military, academia, private sector and other public health spheres. We thank all the health professionals at the hospital for their dedication."