Johannesburg: Anti-apartheid icon and former South African President Nelson Mandela was on Sunday discharged from a hospital and returned home where he will continue to receive intensive care, the presidency said.
“Former President Nelson Mandela has this morning, 1 September 2013, been discharged from the Pretoria hospital where he has been receiving treatment. We would like to wish him all the best as he continues his recovery at his Johannesburg home,” President Jacob Zuma said in a statement. The announcement came a day after officials denied reports that the 95-year-old had already been discharged.
“Madiba’s (Mandela’s clan name) condition remains critical and is at times unstable. Nevertheless, his team of doctors are convinced that he will receive the same level of intensive care at his Houghton home that he received in Pretoria,” the statement said.
The former democracy hero was hospitalised on June 8 for lung infection and has since been there. “His home has been reconfigured to allow him to receive intensive care there. The health care personnel providing care at his home are the very same who provided care to him in hospital. If there are health conditions that warrant another admission to hospital in future, this will be done,” the statement said.
“During his stay in hospital, the condition of our former President vacillated between serious to critical and at times unstable. He has received full medical support and continues to do so,” it said.
“We now call on all to allow the former President and his family the necessary private space so that his continuing care can proceed with dignity and without unnecessary intrusion,” the statement added.
Mandela has been hospitalised four times since December for a recurring respiratory illness. In December, he was admitted for 18 days for the treatment of lung infection and surgery to extract gallstones. It was his longest stint in hospital since his release from prison in 1990. In March, Mandela was admitted for an overnight scheduled check-up before returning that month for 10-days. T
he elderly statesman had a long history of lung problems, dating back to the time when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid. While in jail he contracted tuberculosis. He is revered for leading the fight against white minority rule in South Africa and then pushing reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years.
Mandela, regarded the founding father of South Africa’s multiracial democracy, served as the country’s first black president from 1994 to 1999. He left power after five years as president. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He retired from public life in 2004 and has rarely been seen at official events since. (PTI)