News : Government breaks its silence on Madiba

The Presidency has moved to allay fears over Nelson Mandela’s health, saying Madiba is alive and in high spirits.

The former president has spent the past two days in Milpark Hospital in what was first described as a routine check.

There was, however, mounting speculation about his exact state of health following a virtual news blackout on his condition.

The Presidency released a statement late on Thursday night, saying Madiba was undergoing a few specialised tests and investigations.

“We wish to assure the nation and the world that the former president is in high spirirts and he is being visited by his family and friends,” said the Presidency’s Thabo Masebe.

In the statement issued just before midnight, acting President Kgalema Motlanthe moved to assure the nation there was no need to panic over Madiba’s health.

He said the former president suffers from an ailment common to people of his age and conditions that have developed over years.

Speaking in Cape Town last night, Motlanthe was quoted as saying Madiba is alive and kicking and he has not passed.

The Reuters news agency on Thursday night reported that Madiba has a collapsed lung and could be released on Friday, while AFP said it was told the 92-year-old is sick but his condition is not life threatening.

Following an effective media blackout, Motlanthe and the surgeon general of the Defence Force will address a press briefing at midday on Friday about Mandela’s condition.

It was quiet at the hospital on Friday morning where Madiba is still admitted, with little activity at the front gate.


MANDELA HOUSE – HOUGHTON

Two private cars are parked outside Mandela’s Houghton home but there is no sign of police or military presence just yet.

Journalists are already preparing for another day of anxious waiting. A television outside broadcast van is set up about 100 metres from the house and a camera is already fixed on the entrance.

It is understood one or two cars arrived at the house overnight but there was no major activity.

Residents in Houghton said they hope to hear news of Madiba’s health soon as the uncertainty is difficult.

A Houghton resident, who is Madiba’s neighbour, said he hopes the statesman recovers fully and soon.

“I just wish him well and I hope he gets well very quickly,” he said.

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