No panic over Mandela
SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa’s government on Friday said former
President Nelson Mandela was in high spirits despite undergoing medical
tests and insisted there was no need to panic over the democracy icon’s
Vice President Kgalema Motlanthe broke an official silence to say
that the 92-year-old anti-apartheid hero’s hospital stay had been caused
by long-term respiratory problems which were being treated by
“Medically there is no need to panic. Dr Mandela suffers from ailment
common to people of his age, and conditions that have developed over
years,” said Motlanthe in a statement.
“He has suffered from tuberculosis whilst on Robben Island and has
had previous respiratory infections,” he added, referring to the
notorious prison where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in jail during
the apartheid struggle.
A nearby school was still decorated with messages of support.
“All we want is just the best for him and for him to recover and go
home and be with his family,” said Sibongile Dlamini, a 17-year-old,
grade 12 pupil, told AFP. “South Africa still needs him.”
Keneilwe Mathamela, 15, said: “We can’t concentrate a lot. We’re
always looking outside to see what’s happening. We just want him to come
On Thursday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who described Mandela as frail
after meeting him last week, said Madiba remained in “amazing” condition
for his age, but did not comment specifically on his hospitalisation.
“What more do we want from him? We want him to remain forever, but
you know... anything can happen,” Tutu, a leading figure during the
anti-apartheid struggle, said. JOHANNESBURG, Friday, AFP