Military ambulance leaves Pretoria hospital

2012-12-14 13:46

Pretoria - A convoy of three vehicles with police lights and sirens entered the Mediclinic Heart Hospital, in Arcadia, around midday on Friday, where it was believed former president Nelson Mandela was being treated.

Hospital security barred journalists from following the cars into the premises. The three vehicles then exited along with a military ambulance with yellow number plates. Reporters at the scene were speculating that Madiba may have been discharged.

Journalists had camped outside the hospital earlier in their attempts to find out where Mandela was being treated.

Among the media there was the Eyewitness News (EWN) team which reported that: "The name of the hospital is known by Eyewitness News, but this is not being released to respect Madiba's dignity."

Misleading the public ‘not the in the public interest’

EWN reported on Thursday that Mandela, 94, was not receiving treatment at 1 Military Hospital, as was thought to be the case.

The presidency said it had not been the government's intention to mislead the public or the media.

Spokesperson Mac Maharaj said he had only stated Mandela had been admitted to a Pretoria hospital.

"It is not part of any strategy or tactic by government to mislead the public. We have never had that intention. We know to keep to the facts and we've been rigorous," he said in an interview on Talk Radio 702.

However, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula gave an apparent confirmation that he was at 1 Military Hospital in an interview outside the hospital on Monday, after seemingly visiting Mandela there.

At the time, she said: "He's doing very, very well and it is important to keep him in our prayers and also to be as calm as possible and not cause a state of panic, because I think that is not what all of us need."

On Friday, reporters from EWN, eNews Channel Africa and The Associated Press stationed their cars along Celliers Street, overlooking the entrance to the Mediclinic.

Beeld was reporting that Mandela had been admitted under a pseudonym, which was known to the newspaper.

Senior SANDF officers visit hospital

It reported that security at the hospital was tight and that a number of black bakkies and cars, identical to those used by the police's VIP unit, could be seen on its grounds.

What appeared to be an emergency medical vehicle, with military number plates, was parked in the hospital manager's parking bay.

A number of men wearing electronic ear-pieces, and who were thought to be members of the VIP protection unit, had been seen moving around the hospital grounds and inside the building.

According to Beeld, Mapisa-Nqakula and senior SA National Defence Force officers had visited the hospital.

The newspaper reported that surgeon general Lieutenant General Veejay Ramlakan was there on Tuesday and Wednesday, and that Mandela's wife Graça Machel, President Jacob Zuma and former president Thabo Mbeki had also visited the hospital.

‘Specialised heart hospital’

The Mediclinic Heart Hospital is next to Maupa Naga Police Station.

According to its website, the hospital takes pride in being "the first and still the only hospital of its kind - a private, specialised heart hospital in South Africa".

A large contingent of local and international journalists had camped outside the 1 Military hospital since learning of Mandela's apparent admittance to the hospital on Saturday.

Mandela had been flown to Pretoria from his home in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape.

The presidency said he was suffering from the recurrence of a previous lung infection and was responding to treatment.

Mandela's hospital stay is his longest continuous period in hospital since 2001, when he underwent seven weeks of radiotherapy after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was 83 at the time.

In January 2011, Mandela was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for an acute respiratory infection. He had contracted Tuberculosis while in prison.

  • kalabafazi - 2012-12-14 13:56

    I bet its just another stunt by the government.

      kortbroek.duplessis - 2012-12-14 14:12

      Specialised heart hopital. That's a bit of an overkill to treat a lung infection. His condition is obviously much worse than we have been told

  • jo.vankatwijk - 2012-12-14 14:03

    I'm a lady, so I won't swear, but what the heck? All this fuss and bother with blue lights and screeching sirens. It's all a great show of power and the need to draw attention. If Mr Mandela is better then why is all this necessary? Leave the man be and stop speculating (press) and telling lies (Mac)

      Warren Mudge - 2012-12-14 14:16

      the press will always speculate if government keep us in the dark as well as using spin doctor supremo Maharaj to keep us all guessing what is actually the truth. Lung infection.......heart hospital????

      silvia.vaneck2 - 2012-12-14 16:38

      blaauwen, That is exactly what I think too. They wouldn't announce it now, just before Mangaung!!

  • desire.dubery - 2012-12-14 14:05

    wish u a quick recovery umdala wethu madiba.

  • nam.adumodwa - 2012-12-14 14:07

    people y cant u respect the man n just back off, when the family is ready to give any news they'll surely do so yerr man give the old man breathing space stop hovaring on top of his head like vultures waiting for their prey to die and the attack yerr u guys just disgust the living hell out of me leave him alone jhoo

      Warren Mudge - 2012-12-14 14:24

      This is the man, a public figure, who represents the epitome of freedom to many, they deserve the right to know how he is faring. The world has a right to know, what do you want, a little news report at the bottom of page 6 in the news paper and an aside on television news? Madiba is the hero of many and government dithers and dally's.

      joy.termorshuizen - 2012-12-14 15:26

      Where oh where did you go to school.....speak English please!

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-12-15 11:28

      Nam.adumodwa. You really thing the family has anything to say in this matter?. About respect where is yours?

  • gary.desousa.5 - 2012-12-14 14:08

    EWN dont try to be so politically correct,you just look stupid. How does not revealing the name of the hospital protect his dignity?? his privacy yes but dignity??

  • gary.desousa.5 - 2012-12-14 14:10

    A lung infection and hes in a specialized heart hospital? hmmm Hope you get well Mandela.

  • Warren Mudge - 2012-12-14 14:12

    It's quite amazing, when Madiba is at home in Qunu, there is probably a security presence of a couple of highly trained agents.. Now he is ill in GP and the government draws attention to it by having a show of force with just about every bloody black VIP vehicle and one hundred and plenty VIP protection guys. Just transport the icon by helicopter dammit. Why all the darn fuss. The ANC just want to use this opportunity to abuse the media. Get well Madiba, we do not need all this attention to wish you all the best, a simple announcement from government would suffice.

  • Cherri - 2012-12-14 14:14

    Oh for crying out loud, have people nothing better to do than wait to see when a 94 year old is going to make his exit? It's like a circus. No-one is immortal, we all have to go that way one day, some just a lot sooner than others.

  • bop.nob - 2012-12-14 14:33

    alicia .....

  • jo.vankatwijk - 2012-12-14 14:41

    For heaven's sake! The ANC, Mac M, should have just kept quiet when Mandela "went in for tests". When this turned out to be the untruth, the ANC, Mac M, should still have kept quiet. When Mandela goes to hospital only his immediate family needs to know, not even Winnie and not govt people. Only then will his privacy be guaranteed. Obviously the media vultures are always on the look out and news spreads faster than a wild fire. That's their job and livelihood. No wonder people speculate and perhaps fear the worst. It's the ANC's, Mac M's, fault. Just shut up Mac!

  • Mosawenkosi - 2012-12-14 14:45

    Accurate reporting please!! Maupa Naga is NOT a police station, its just police offices

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-12-14 15:47

      What does it matter. When I told the Profesional at Home Affare that I was born in Baberton he told me he do not know the place and then I explained to him that it is near Mombombela he wrote down that I was born at Momombela. So nobody care where Maupa. Naga is or what it is. Everybody is lost in SA.

  • christopher.m.lowe - 2012-12-14 14:51

    I wish Madiba every good thing for the future, but even he must see the supreme irony of his situation. Most South Africans can only dream of this level of medical care. And don't forget the sirens! Pffft!

  • Rob - 2012-12-14 15:19

    I have heard from a source that things are not that wonderful concerning his health. I hope I am wrong.

      Charles Frederik Robberts - 2012-12-14 15:44

      Think you are RIGHT!

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-12-14 15:52

      I think your source is correct. If Mandela pass on now things are going to get out of hand because the goverment make people belive that all is well.

      jo.vankatwijk - 2012-12-14 16:52

      That wouldn't surprise me. In that case Mandela would have upstaged Mangaung! No wonder the messages are mixed.

  • dewaldmontgomery - 2012-12-14 16:05

    With great respect, treated in the heart hospital for a lung infection? What did I miss?

  • Anthony C. Onwudiegwu - 2012-12-14 16:19

    Talk about interest, law and the interpritation of intrests behind the laws we make to guid our actions. It is in the public interest that Mac M. tell the nation the true position of Madib health. On the other hand the respect for the family and protection of his life counts and should be respected. So which interest should take prominence over the other?

  • joanne.duplooy.5 - 2012-12-14 16:55

    If Madiba was still alive his family would immediately put the rumours to rest

  • mbambo.shi - 2012-12-14 19:02

    Military Ambulance or Military Hearse????.

  • EkasiBoy - 2012-12-14 19:22

    Oh dear mandela, speculation, speculation!

  • - 2012-12-14 19:23

    Long live Madiba, the world loves u soooooooooooo much except racism ones...

  • jaap.kotze - 2012-12-15 07:06

    Whatever. Just watch the lampposts for the posters!

  • marilyn.docherty.9 - 2012-12-15 07:58

    All this secrecy is very strange to me - police convoy and military ambulance then on this mornings news (7020 they have stated Madiba spent Friday night in hospital?????????

  • Erna - 2012-12-15 08:48

    All this subterfuge proves just one thing - the government is very good at lying and hiding things and have obviously had lots of practice.

  • jackbongani.phala - 2012-12-15 09:58


  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-12-15 11:24

    If they are misleading us about this, what else are we not told?

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