South Africa's presidency has urged the media to respect former president Nelson Mandela's privacy as he receives treatment for a lung infection at a Pretoria hospital.
The Presidency made the statement on Thursday as crowds of reporters camped outside the 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria to get the first-hand information about Mandela's condition. Mandela has been hospitalized since Dec. 8. Athough the government has never identified the hospital where Mandela is staying, the media have focused their attention on the 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria."We have noted media speculation about the hospital at which former President Mandela may be receiving medical attention," the Presidency said in a statement."Mandela is being treated at a Pretoria hospital as said from the first statement we issued," the statement said. "We have refrained from disclosing the hospital in order to ensure privacy and also to allow doctors space to do their work of caring for Madiba without interruptions or undue pressure,"it added.The Presidency said Mandela is being treated for a lung infection and is well-looked after by a competent medical team. "While we understand the interest in the story, we urge the media to respect the former President's privacy." In an earlier statement, the Presidency said doctors had concluded tests on Mandela, and the tests revealed a recurrence of a previous lung infection. Mandela was being treated accordingly and he was responding to the treatment, the Presidency said.
This is not the first time that Mandela was hospitalized in the past two years. In January 2011, he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for an acute respiratory infection. In February this year, he spent a night in a hospital for a minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complain. Mandela turned 94 on July 18 this year. His health has been a focus of concern. Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years during apartheid, was elected the country's first black president in 1994.
Meanwhile President Jacob Zuma on Thursday unveiled a giant statue of former president Nelson Mandela, paying tribute to Mandela's contribution to "a united, non-racial, non sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa."
The statue was unveiled on Naval Hill in Bloemfontain as Mandela was receiving medical treatment for a lung infection at a Pretoria hospital. Zuma described the statue as a tribute to a tortuous path the South African people traveled from oppression, through the struggle for liberation, to democracy in 1994 and to the progress being made to undo the legacy of many years of oppression, injustice and indignity for the majority of South Africans. "The statue is our efforts to strengthen reconciliation, nation building, social cohesion and national healing that Madiba always stood for in all his life.Guided by the mandate of the African National Congress (ANC) to seek and work for equal rights and opportunities for all South Africans."
Mandela has made it his life's work to lead and guide the people out of oppression, discrimination and economic suffering, Zuma said. Mandela is a humble person; a principled leader whose life of selfless dedication to the cause of equality, freedom and dignity for all continues to be a source of inspiration to all South Africans and indeed to all of humanity, said Zuma. The statue stands seven meters high, towering above the landscape overlooking Bloemfontein whose name has been changed to Mangaung. On Mandela's conditions, Zuma said Mandela remains in a Pretoria hospital where he is being treated for a lung infection. "We have assured him of the love and support of all South Africans during his hospitalization," Zuma said. (Xinhua)