SA govt addresses Mandela health concerns

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) - The South African government has finally broken its silence on the health condition of former president Nelson Mandela, who is being treated in Johannesburg's Milpark Hospital.

He was admitted on Wednesday for what the Nelson Mandela Foundation called "routine tests".  

However, it emerged that there were serious concerns about his health after he had been flown from Cape Town, where he was on holiday, and transferred to hospital by a military ambulance.

Acting President Kgalema Motlanthe said Mandela was undergoing specialised tests and investigations and “medically there is no need to panic”.

"Given the medical history of our former president, his health over the last few years and his age, these tests are necessary in order to provide optimal health care,” Motlanthe said.

He said Mandela had suffered from tuberculosis while a prisoner on Robben Island and has had previous respiratory infections.

There had been a news blackout on Mandela's condition since his foundation issued its statement on Wednesday afternoon, giving rise to widespread concern and speculation. There are unconfirmed reports that Mandela suffered from a collapsed lung.

Talk Radio 702 reported that he had been seen by a specialist pulmonologist, who treats respiratory systems.

Mandela has not been seen in public since the World Cup final in July last year.

The thoughts of President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are with Mandela, the White House said on Thursday.

State Department spokesperson Philip Crowley said that the United States was hoping for a "speedy recovery" for the former anti-apartheid campaigner.

"He is one of the world's statesmen, a truly global citizen in the finest sense of the word. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” Crowley said.

President Jacob Zuma is reportedly being kept abreast of developments while attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 28Jan2011

28 january 2011 08:24:47

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