FORMER South African president Nelson Mandela’s stay in hospital for unspecified medical tests has stretched into a third day.
Government officials have said the 94-year-old anti-apartheid campaigner is “comfortable” and receiving medical care which is “consistent with his age”.
Mr Mandela is “doing very, very well”, the nation’s defense minister said today.
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula spoke to the media outside 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria after visiting Mr Mandela.
She offered the first government confirmation that Mandela, who has received military medical care since 2011, is at that hospital.
“He’s doing very, very well,” the minister said. “And it is important to keep him in our prayers and also to be as calm as possible and not cause a state of panic because I think that is not what all of us need.”
A statement from the office of President Jacob Zuma also confirmed that Mandela is fine, but did not offer further details.
“Mandela had a good night’s rest,” the statement by presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj says. “The doctors will still conduct further tests today. He is in good hands.”
The nation’s military has been responsible for his medical care since he suffered an acute respiratory infection in 2011.
Mr Mandela spent 27 years in prison for fighting racist white rule. He became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. He has since retired from public life.
He made his last public appearance in 2010 and has grown increasingly frail in recent years.