Mandela in 'no immediate danger' but faces more tests

10th December 2012, Comments 0 comments

Ailing anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela Monday remained in hospital for a third day to undergo more tests, but was comfortable and in "no immediate danger," the South African government said.

The 94-year-old spent the day at the One Military Hospital in Pretoria, after getting a "good night's rest," but faced a new set of undisclosed checks and the prospect of a third night in admission.

"The doctors will still conduct further tests today. He is in good hands," the presidency said in a statement.

The defence ministry, which is responsible for the former president's health care, told AFP there is "no immediate danger to him at this stage," but offered few details about his condition.

Mandela -- who received the Nobel Peace Prize ten years ago today -- was flown to the country's leading military hospital from his rural homestead on Saturday.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula visited Mandela early on Monday and said the revered statesman was "doing very, very well".

"He is comfortable, he continues to receive treatment which. . . (is) routine and that should be expected of a person of his senior age."

Officials have kept silent about the procedures involved and have not given any specifics of his medical condition.

It was unclear if Mandela would spend a third night in hospital.

"That (decision) is still in the hands of the doctors. . . . They are saying they are doing further tests," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told AFP.

But it is not the first health scare for the nonagenarian, who in February spent one night in hospital for a minor procedure to probe persistent abdominal pain.

In January 2011, Mandela had the country on edge when he was admitted for two nights for an acute respiratory infection. He was discharged in a stable condition for home-based care and intense medical monitoring.

Madiba, as he is affectionately known by South Africans, retains a prominent place in the national psyche, despite leaving office more than a decade ago -- a virtual lifetime in the quick-moving politics of this born-again nation.

South Africans united to offer prayers for their ailing national hero, who was the country's first black president.

June Mashiya, a Pretoria petrol attendant said news of Mandela's hospitalisation left him "very very worried, because that person is a very important person to us. Everybody in South Africa loves Mandela."

Despite the mudslinging by the opposition aimed at the ruling African National Congress in the build-up to the party's key conference, political parties have bandied in the chorus of prayers to wish Mandela well.

"When Mandela is admitted to hospital, all of us get affected because we love and care for him," said the main opposition Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane.

But there was also a level of resignation about Mandela's fate -- in contrast to the panic of previous health scares -- and a sense that Mandela must now be left in peace.

"Dear South Africans Please let Nelson Mandela go, he is old now and deserves to rest," @ComradeESETHU from Cape Town wrote on Twitter.

Mandela, revered for wrestling the apartheid rule and then reconciling what was a deeply divided nation, was elected South Africa's president in 1994 after 27 years of incarceration.

The previous year, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the country's last apartheid president F.W. de Klerk, an award granted this date 19 years ago.

After leaving office he has since retired to his rural childhood village.

© 2012 AFP

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