Nelson Mandela: Security stepped up at hospital

2011-01-26 18:12

kalahari.com

Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela was at Milpark hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday afternoon undergoing routine tests, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said.

An AFP photographer saw Mandela's wife, Graça Machel, leaving the hospital at about 17:30, with four other family members departing shortly after. His personal assistant Zelda la Grange arrived at 18:00.

The hospital declined to comment on whether Mandela would be staying in hospital overnight, saying it does not give information on patients as a matter of policy.

E.tv news has reported that Mandela is not in ICU and there is nothing to indicate that he is in any danger.

"He is in no danger and is in good spirits," the foundation said in a statement in Johannesburg.

An e.tv journalist said a military ambulance brought Mandela to the hospital. Family members were seen laughing and joking around and did not look distressed.

Activity at the hospital continued as usual on Wednesday afternoon.

Visitors met patients in the hospital's reception area, unaware of the presence of the former president in the same building.

Journalists from various media houses arrived one by one at the facility greeting each other and standing in groups talking.

A security guard approached one group asking what their business at the hospital was, prompting the journalists to quickly disperse.

At a far corner of the hospital, a makeshift barrier of green mesh was erected. Inside the area were VIP cars, presumably belonging to family members.

Mandela frail

Security guards continued to query journalists waiting idly outside the facility, without giving a reason for their enquiries.

Reporters, for their part, were silent on why they were at the hospital - for fear of being removed from the premises.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Tuesday told Sapa that Mandela was "frail".

"I saw him last week," Tutu said in Cape Town.

"He was all right, I mean he's 92, man, you know. And he's frail."

Earlier this month, a report circulated on social network Twitter that the elder statesman had died.

It was condemned as malicious and insensitive by the African National Congress.

Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport said though the rumours were false, reliable sources had confirmed that Mandela's health had deteriorated.

In mid-January, a Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesperson said Mandela was well and on holiday with his wife Graça Machel.

Mandela has not appeared publicly since the closing ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Johannesburg.
- SAPA
Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  johannesburg
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