Mandela in PTA hospital for ‘tests’
Former president Nelson Mandela was admitted to a Pretoria hospital for medical tests on Saturday, just short of a year since his last known hospital visit.
"President Jacob Zuma wishes to advise that former President Nelson Mandela has today, 8 December 2012, been admitted in hospital in Pretoria to undergo tests," said spokesman Mac Maharaj in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
The hospital was not named.
Maharaj insisted that there was no cause for concern.
"As said before, former President Mandela will receive medical attention from time to time which is consistent with his age."
Mandela was admitted to hospital in February this year for a diagnostic procedure, which Lindiwe Sisulu, who was defence minister at the time, later said was “an investigative laparoscopy”.
"President Zuma assures all that Madiba is doing well and there is no cause for alarm," Maharaj said.
Zuma said: "We wish Madiba all the best. The medical team is assured of our support as they look after and ensure the comfort of our beloved founding President of a free and democratic South Africa."
The Presidency appealed to the media and the public to respect the privacy of Mandela and his family.
Mandela’s hospital visit in February this year was marked with much less media speculation than a hospital visit in January 2011, when few updates on his condition were made public, leading to many unfounded rumours regarding his condition.
In February, the Presidency sent regular updates on his condition, but did not say in which hospital he was being treated, probably as a result of a media frenzy outside Milpark hospital in Johannesburg the year before.
In 2011, he was in hospital for what the Nelson Mandela Foundation called “routine checks”.
That year, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe eventually broke the silence on Mandela’s condition on January 27, saying that he would be discharged on the same day and receive home-based care for a respiratory infection.
Another frenzy followed in December 2011, when eNews, in a review of stories from the year, carried file footage of Madiba being taken to hospital in January 2011.
This triggered a flurry of rumours regarding the former president's health.
"The presidency has received calls from the media enquiring about Madiba's health," Maharaj said at the time.
"It appears that an end of year review done by a media house may have unfortunately triggered a rumour of ill-health."
On Saturday afternoon, one military hospital in Pretoria appeared quiet with no access control or any signs of heightened security outside.