Dept apologises for Madiba hospital blunder

2012-12-15 00:00

FORMER president Nelson Mandela is still being treated at Pretoria’s MediClinic Heart Hospital.

There had been speculation yesterday that he would be discharged, but presidential spokesperson Maj Maharaj said there had been no change in his condition and he was responding well to treatment.

“His condition is sometimes better and then not so good.

“At his age it takes a while for drugs like antibiotics to take effect. At his age anything can happen.”

The presidency has not issued written bulletins on Mandela’s condition for two days, after issuing a daily update at the beginning of the week.

Rumours that Mandela was well enough to be discharged emerged after a meeting yesterday at the hospital involving the presidency, the SA National Defence Force and hospital management. Afterwards, a calvacade of three black vehicles and a black SANDF ambulance left the hospital grounds, arriving at 1 Military Hospital about 15 minutes later.

The presidency was widely criticised yesterday for misleading the public, after it emerged that Mandela was not in 1 Military as had been believed all week.

Maharaj had not referred specifically to that facility, but Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula spoke to the media outside it, implying she had just been to see Mandela there.

On Thursday Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor also referred to 1 Military.

Home Affairs spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said department officials told the minister Mandela was in the military facility because that was what the media was reporting.

“We didn’t check and we apologise for that,” he said.

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