Presidency: Mandela could be home soon
Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela could be home by the next day or two after being admitted to hospital on Saturday with a stomach ailment, the presidency said.
"President Jacob Zuma wishes to advise that former president Nelson Mandela is in a satisfactory condition in hospital and is comfortable," Zuma's spokesperson Mac Maharaj said on Saturday afternoon.
"Madiba is fine and fully conscious and the doctors are satisfied with his condition, which they say is consistent with his age. He was in good health before admission in hospital, but doctors felt the complaint needed a thorough investigation.
"He underwent a diagnostic procedure as part of his ongoing medical management.
"We are happy that he is not in any danger and thank the doctors for their hard work and professionalism. He is receiving good medical care and is expected to be discharged from hospital either tomorrow [Sunday] or Monday," said the presidency.
The 93-year-old Nobel Peace prize winner's admission to hospital had reporters and photographers rushing in vain from hospital to hospital in Tshwane and Johannesburg to give the public updates of the man regarded as an icon of grace in adversity by many people locally and internationally.
Arranged in advance
The ruling ANC, which Mandela presided over for several years, said: "The African National Congress was this morning well briefed by the president's office of the admission of [former] president Mandela... We are satisfied that his condition is not life threatening and that the admission was long arranged and therefore it's not an emergency admission."
They also urged caution on an unsourced report by the British Broadcasting Corporation that he had undergone surgery for a hernia.
ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza responded by saying: "If we look at the statement released by the presidency - it does not state that Mandela is going in for surgery. We do not want any speculation.
National Press Club chair Yusuf Abramjee said issuing a statement meant that there wasn't a repeat of the "PR fiasco" of 2011 when a turf war between various parties associated with Mandela led to the release of almost no information on his hospitalisation for a respiratory ailment.
It was only when he emerged on a hospital gurney, wearing a hairnet, on his way home that rumours of his death stopped.
Ideally there should be a morning and a late update, unless things change drastically, said Abramjee.
He was, however, concerned that journalists were being treated poorly at Tshwane's One Military Hospital, where some believe he is being treated.
Beeld photographer Theana Breugem, who had taken pictures of the One Military hospital building, was made to delete the pictures she had taken after being briefly detained. Such buildings are assumed to be military key points, with pictures not allowed.
Outside Mandela's house in Houghton, Johannesburg, journalists seemed to be waiting in vain for an update on his condition.
Meanwhile, wishes for a speedy recovery went out to Mandela.
"We wish him a speedy recovery, and the WL look forward to celebrating Tata Madiba's 94th birthday with him in the months to follow," said the ANC Women's League.