Mandela responding well to treatment in South Africa

08:51, January 31, 2011      

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South Africa's iconic former president Nelson Mandela, 92, is responding very well to medication and treatment, doctors looking after him said on Sunday.

This followed world-wide media interest in Mandela last week after he was admitted to hospital after an acute respiratory infection.

Veejay Ramlakan, surgeon-general of the South African National Defense Force, who is responsible for the medical care of past and present South African presidents, issued a media statement on Sunday evening, saying Mandela had a restful and peaceful night.

Mandela was discharged from Johannesburg's Miklpark Hospital on Jan. 28 amid a media frenzy, after spending two nights there.

"He continues to be visited by close family and relatives. The close monitoring and 24 hour care from team of specialist continues," Ramlakan said.

Several prayer meetings for the elder statesmen were held in South Africa on Sunday.

Near Johannesburg, Nomvula Mokonyane, premier of South Africa' s Gauteng province, offered prayers for Mandela and lit a candle of hope in a service at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto.

At a prayer meeting in East London in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, Mathews Phosa, treasurer general of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), thanked people for supporting the Mandela family.

However, according to the South African Press Association (SAPA), he said people should stop talking about Mandela as if he were dead.

"The national leadership of the ANC will continue to celebrate and feel Mandela's moral support," he said Other ANC national executive committee members who attended the prayer service at East London's' Regent Hotel were the South African parliament's defense committee chairman Mnyamezeli Booi, the country's economic development minister Ebrahim Patel and public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba.

Noxolo Kiviet, premier of South Africa's Eastern Cape province, also attended.

According to SAPA, South African President Jacob Zuma told an African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that Mandela had taught the world of the importance of unity, forgiveness and reconciliation.

"We wish him a long life and good health, as he continues to age with dignity and inspire all of us to strive to be better people each day," Zuma said.

Mandela's hospitalization and the information blackout which initially surrounded it resulted in a frenzy of activity at the hospital and at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg. South African Acting President Kgalema Motlanthe has since acknowledged that the flow of information could have been better.

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