Global peace icon and former South African president Nelson Mandela was back home yesterday after spending a night in hospital for a “scheduled medical checkup,” South African President Jacob Zuma’s office said.
“Former president Nelson Mandela has this afternoon ... returned to his Johannesburg home following a successful medical examination at a Pretoria hospital,” presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in an e-mailed statement. “The doctors have completed the tests. He is well and as before, his health remains under the management of the medical team.”
Mandela was admitted on Saturday for “a scheduled medical check-up to manage the existing conditions in line with his age,” less than three months after being treated for a lung infection and gallstones.
News of his latest hospitalization sparked concern that the 94-year-old had fallen ill again.
Authorities did not divulge at which Pretoria hospital he was staying. However, a witness told reporters that patients at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital were on Saturday moved out of the ward that Mandela stayed in during an 18-day hospitalization in December last year.
The hospital told them the ward needed to be repainted, but no one was allowed near the area.
Earlier, the country’s ruling African National Congress Party (ANC) said Mandela was “in capable and competent hands,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.
“The African National Congress wishes Madiba well,” said Mthembu, using the clan name by which Mandela is affectionately known.
Mandela underwent treatment for a recurrent lung infection and surgery to extract gallstones over Christmas, during his longest stint in hospital since his release from prison in 1990.
He was discharged the day after Christmas and was last known to be convalescing at his Johannesburg home. Zuma’s office in January said he had “recovered.”
A month later, Zuma said he found Mandela “comfortable and relaxed” during a visit to his house.
The revered statesman has not appeared in public since soccer’s World Cup final in South Africa in 2010, six years after retiring.
Rumors of his failing health or even death flare up periodically, forcing the government to issue assurances that all is well.
However, the presidency — the only authority to speak on his health — has been known to downplay his treatments as routine checkups.
Mandela has grown increasingly frail in recent years, with health complications often linked to his years of hard labor in prison for opposing apartheid.