HomeLocal NewsMandela going home after acute respiratory infection

Mandela going home after acute respiratory infection

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In the first news conference on former President Nelson Mandela’s health since he was taken to hospital on Wednesday, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said his life was not in immediate danger.

Mandela would be going home today to be treated further there, his doctor said.

“Madiba is well,” Motlanthe said. “He is receiving the best treatment from top doctors.

“There is no need for us to panic. There is no reason for us to fear for Madiba’s health,” he said.

Motlanthe, flanked by family members and doctors, addressed a news conference inside Milpark Hospital.

The Surgeon General, Lt Gen V I Ramlakan, said Mandela was in high spirits after an accute respiratory infection.

“Medically at present there is no reason to panic,” he said.

Ramlakan said Mandela had already been formally discharged and it would be up to his family to arrange to take him home.

Shortly before the briefing began, an ambulance pulled into a parking area that has been reserved since Wednesday for Mandela’s visitors.

Motlanthe conceded as questions focussed on the delay in telling the world what was happening to the former president that news about Mandela’s health was not well managed.

“With hindsight, we could have handled this matter differently,” he said.

The 92-year-old anti-apartheid icon was admitted to the Johannesburg hospital on Wednesday for what his foundation described as routine tests. The foundation has not given an update on his condition until now.

The ANC and the presidency yesterday called for calm as concerns mounted over Mandela’s health.

An unnamed elder from his home village, Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, was flown to Johannesburg on Wednesday night to assist the Mandela family. The Tembu royal house, of which Mandela is a member, said they were informed on Wednesday of Mandela’s condition.

He has been visited at the hospital by a number of his family and friends – including his wife, Graca Machel, his former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who left in tears, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and struggle veteran Albertina Sisulu.

World leaders, including US President Barack Obama, sent messages of support to Mandela yesterday.

In a carefully crafted statement from the presidency yesterday, President Jacob Zuma, who left the Swiss town of Davos for Addis Ababa today, called for “calm and restraint”.

“We urge the media to afford him the dignity and respect that he is entitled to as the country’s founding democratic president, as a national hero and also as a citizen of the republic,” Zuma said.

The presidency urged the media to “balance the quest for stories with acting within the bounds of human decency and ensuring the respect for human dignity”.

A steady stream of visitors entered Milpark Hospital throughout the day yesterday, all of them refusing to speak to reporters.

Both Madikizela-Mandela and Machel visited the former statesman but left the hospital through a back entrance.

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