Don't imprison Madiba again - Sisulu
Pretoria - The weekend drama surrounding former president Nelson Mandela's health made the world sit up and take notice, but had a happy ending after Mandela went home following a procedure to determine the origin of abdominal pain.
The diagnostic laparoscopy performed on Mandela was “keyhole surgery” in the abdomen, during which a microscopic camera with optic fibre flash and high definition monitors were used. The images could be seen on TV screens.
Mandela was discharged from 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria on Sunday afternoon, and is recuperating at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.
“The doctors assured us there was nothing to worry about and that he was in good health,” said President Jacob Zuma on Sunday.
Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu as well as presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj on Sunday asked the media to respect Mandela’s privacy.
“We can’t have a situation where a man who spent such a big part of his life as a prisoner, is now once again a prisoner of society,” said Sisulu.
Members of the international and local media were camped outside Mandela’s house, 1 Military Hospital and Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg after it emerged on Saturday morning that Mandela, 93, had been admitted to hospital.
The presidency didn’t want to say which hospital had admitted him.
Mandela was treated for an acute respiratory infection in Milpark hospital in January last year.
Sisulu said Mandela was admitted to hospital on Saturday morning due to discomfort in his abdomen, about which he had been complaining for some time.
Maharaj said Mandela’s hospital visit had been planned beforehand.
Maharaj said the doctors decided to send Mandela home on Sunday after the procedure showed nothing seriously wrong with him.
Shortly before the presidency announced on Sunday afternoon that Mandela was to be discharged, a police car followed by a black car and an additional three vehicles with tinted windows and screaming sirens sped off in the direction of 1 Military Hospital.
About 40 minutes later, the same convoy came speeding out again.
At about 14:30 a black minibus and black car, both with blue lights on the roof and military registration numbers, drove into the gate of Mandela’s house in Houghton.
Mandela was presumably in one of these vehicles, because shortly afterwards, presidential spokesperson Harold Maloka confirmed that Mandela was at home in Houghton.
A close family member said Mandela was feeling “as one could expect from someone of his age”, and added that he looked well.
"The focus would now be moved to ensuring that he enjoyed the maximum comfort,” said the family member.
Sisulu said Mandela was “very well and as handsome as always”.
Sisulu said a meeting with the media would be held on Monday to discuss how similar situations regarding Mandela would be handled in future.
This came after members of the media who had stood in the street in front of 1 Military Hospital on Saturday morning, were chased to a field behind the Voortrekker Monument.
Journalists were then also told to leave the Milpark hospital’s premises.