Collapsed lung puts South Africa’s Mandela in hospital: report

14:07, January 28, 2011      

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Journalists wait for news outside Milpark Hospital, in which former South African president Nelson Mandela is hospitalized, in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Jan. 27, 2011. South Africa's most famous citizen, former president Nelson Mandela, 92, was on Wednesday admitted to Johannesburg's Milpark Hospital for medical tests. The Citizen newspaper in Johannesburg said it had been reliably informed that the 92-year-old elder statesman was recovering from a collapsed lung. (Xinhua/Li Qihua)

Although there was no official word on Thursday night about the hospitalization of former South African president Nelson Mandela, the Citizen newspaper in Johannesburg said it had been reliably informed that the 92-year-old elder statesman was recovering from a collapsed lung.

He was expected to be released from Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital on Friday, the newspaper said. Amid tight security, with a large contingent of international and South African media kept at bay, a steady stream of VIPs visited the hospital.

In addition, there was a large gathering of media and security personnel near Mandela’s home in Houghton, northern Johannesburg.

When Mandela was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, the Nelson Mandela Foundation issued a brief statement: "We can confirm that Mr Mandela is at Milpark Hospital undergoing routine tests. He is in no danger and is in good spirits." Since then there has been no official update on his condition.

On Thursday at about 7 p. m., a South African presidential police unit, four police vans and one larger van carrying about 15 police arrived at the hospital.

The South African Press Association (SAPA) said well-known South African Businessman Richard Maponya arrived at the same time.

Mandela's wife Graca Machel arrived at the hospital at 3 p. m.

Family members and politicians were earlier seen coming and going. Mandela's former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela wiped her face and blew her nose as she left the hospital around 1:30 p.m.. She was accompanied by Mandela's eldest grandson, Chief Mandla Mandela and other family members.

Anti-apartheid activist Albertina Sisulu, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, Mandela's personal assistant Zelda la Grange, and the daughter of Mandela's wife Graca Machel, and senior military officials visited.

Earlier, South African President Jacob Zuma, in Davos Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, wished Mandela well and said he was "comfortable" and being "well looked after."

"President Mandela is comfortable and is well looked after by a good team of medical specialists," the South African presidency said in a statement.

The South African presidency urged the media to afford him “the dignity and respect that he is entitled to as the country's founding democratic president, as a national hero and also as a citizen of the republic.”

Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994, after spending 27 years imprisoned for his activities against South Africa’s former apartheid government.

On Thursday, Zuma said doctors need to be allowed to do their work without undue pressure.

The leader of South Africa’s official opposition Democratic Alliance, Helen Zille, wished Mandela.

"Our thoughts are with him and his loved ones. We must respond to the current situation with the dignity and calm that he would expect," she said in a statement.

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