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5:53pm UK, Saturday February 25, 2012
The South African President has reassured his countrymen and women that former leader Nelson Mandela is not in any danger and he is in a “satisfactory condition” in hospital.
The 93-year-old former leader was admitted to hospital on Saturday morning after suffering abdominal pains, but the government said it was a long-standing health issue and not an emergency.
Referring to his clan name, the office of current President Jacob Zuma said in a statement: “Madiba is fine and fully conscious and the doctors are satisfied with his condition, which they say is consistent with his age.
“He was in good health before admission in hospital but doctors felt the complaint needed a thorough investigation.
“He underwent a diagnostic procedure as part of his ongoing medical management.
The most recent photo of Mandela, seen greeting his great-grandson
“We are happy that he is not in any danger and thank the doctors for their hard work and professionalism.”
The statement added Mr Mandela would be discharged either on Sunday or Monday.
Sky sources said the ex-president had been suffering pain from a hernia.
Mr Mandela’s granddaughter Ndileka told Sky News: “He is fine. He is doing well.” She went on to say she was not worried about her elderly grandfather.
Hernias can only be permanently fixed with surgical intervention, however if surgery is considered too risky or inadvisable, then they can be treated by manipulating or binding them.
One doctor told me: “Clearly any 93-year-old will be in the high risk category so the doctors will have to consider whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
“If he had an entirely uncomplicated hernia I would definitely tell him to bind it with a corset and live with it rather than put him through surgery.
“However if there is a complication which is causing pain and could exacerbate, then the doctors may have no choice but to opt for surgery.”
Solidarity with Nelson Mandela just admitted to hospital we are all with you
— Peter Hain (@PeterHain) February 25, 2012
Mr Zuma’s office appealed for people not to panic and assured the public there would be regular updates about the former leader’s condition.
The South African government is anxious to try to manage the flow of information about the situation because of the rash of inaccurate reports which emerged the last time Mr Mandela was taken to hospital in January 2011.
The liberation hero, who is simply known as Madiba by most South Africans, retired from public life in June 2004 and has been rarely seen since.
His last official photograph was in September last year which showed him celebrating the birth of his latest great grandchild.
Mr Mandela is still viewed with huge affection in South Africa despite having retired from public life.
That is why any suggestion he may have less than perfect health tends to fill South Africans with alarm and worry.