Doctors flew to Mandela in Qunu

Former president Nelson Mandela is back in hospital, but there is “no cause for alarm”.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj announced this in a statement issued from Tanzania yesterday.

Maharaj said Madiba (94) was admitted to a hospital in Pretoria “to undergo tests”, but would not disclose which hospital.

“Madiba was doing well and there is no cause for alarm.”

But those close to, or associated with, Mandela seemed to be in the dark and in the Eastern Cape there was confusion about Madiba’s movements.

South African Air Force sources yesterday told City Press that no flight from Mthatha had been undertaken with Madiba on board.

Maharaj insisted Madiba was in Pretoria.

City Press has learnt that the medical staff in charge of Madiba’s health decided in February, the last time he was flown to Pretoria for tests, that he would no longer travel by plane because of his frail health.

At least three military planes have flown to Mthatha since Friday, with doctors and medical equipment on board.

The first was on Friday when Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was due to visit Madiba, but eventually he declined to go and the plane left with a general from the South African Military Health Service and another doctor on board.

Yesterday morning a second team of doctors left for Qunu from Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria, accompanied by a Hercules C30 cargo plane with medical equipment and an ambulance on board.

About 20 additional medical personnel were also on board.

At 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria, where Madiba was admitted in February, there was no unusual activity last night and reporters were allowed entry to the hospital.

In February, journalists were kept far away from the hospital entrance.

Ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Madiba’s daughter, Zindzi, were at the Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg when the news broke. They were unaware of his medical situation.

Sello Hatang, spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said he didn’t know about Mandela’s hospitalisation.

“They have issued a press release?” he asked when told about Maharaj’s statement.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza was also unaware of Madiba’s hospitalisation when asked for comment.
City Press phoned several family members who all declined to comment.

Maharaj said Mandela had been flown to Pretoria yesterday. He could not say how long Mandela would spend in hospital.
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