Wednesday 21 February 2018

Mandela 'doing well' in hospital

Former South African president Nelson Mandela is in hospital for a third day (AP Photo)
Former South African president Nelson Mandela is in hospital for a third day (AP Photo)

Former South Africa president Nelson Mandela is "doing very, very well" while undergoing unspecified medical tests at a military hospital, the nation's defence minister has said.

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula gave the update outside a hospital in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, after seeing Mr Mandela, 94, who has been hospitalised there for three days. She offered the first government confirmation that Mr Mandela, who has received military medical care since 2011, is at the hospital.

"He's doing very, very well," the minister said in brief comments. "And it is important to keep him in our prayers and also to be as calm as possible and not cause a state of panic because I think that is not what all of us need."

A statement later issued by the office of President Jacob Zuma also confirmed that Mr Mandela is fine, but did not offer further details.

"Mandela had a good night's rest," the statement by presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said. "The doctors will still conduct further tests today. He is in good hands."

On Saturday, Mr Zuma's office announced Mr Mandela had been admitted to a Pretoria hospital for medical tests and care that was "consistent for his age".

Mr Zuma visited Mr Mandela on Sunday morning at the hospital and found the former leader to be "comfortable and in good care", the presidential spokesman said in a statement. No other details were given about what medical tests he had undergone since entering the hospital.

In February, Mr Mandela spent a night in a hospital for a minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint. In January 2011, he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials initially described as tests but what turned out to be an acute respiratory infection.

Mr Mandela has had other health problems. He contracted tuberculosis during his years in prison and had surgery for an enlarged prostate gland in 1985. In 2001, he underwent seven weeks of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, ultimately beating the disease.

Mr Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. The Nobel laureate later retired from public life to live in his remote village of Qunu, in the Eastern Cape area, and last made a public appearance when his country hosted the 2010 World Cup football tournament. He has grown increasingly frail in recent years.

Press Association

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