Mandela ‘responds well to treatment’

January 31st, 2011 | by addis portal |

Goodwill gestures and get-well messages continue to pour in

President Jacob Zuma is expected to arrive home from Ethiopia, but it is not clear when he would visit former president Nelson Mandela at his Johannesburg home.

Zuma, who was attending the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, told heads of state yesterday that Mandela had taught the world 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.

“We truly appreciate the support and good wishes we received when he [Mandela] was in hospital this week.”

Zuma’s spokesman, Zizi Kodwa, would not say when Zuma would visit Mandela. He said the president’s activities would be communicated after his return.

The South African National Defence Force said last night Mandela was “responding well to medication and treatment” at home.

Fewer people were seen visiting Mandela’s house yesterday as he spent his third day at home after being discharged from Milpark Hospital, to which he was admitted last Wednesday for a respiratory illness.

Local and foreign journalists continued to camp outside Mandela’s house yesterday, sitting on camp chairs. Some set up a tent stocked up with refreshments. They photographed visitors and medical officials.

Among those spotted entering and leaving Mandela’s house were grandson Mandla Mandela, Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni, the late Brenda Fassie’s son, Bongani, and Madiba’s aide, Zelda la Grange.

Shortly after 2pm, a medic talking on the phone walked out of Mandela’s house holding a stethoscope and gave journalists a thumbs-up.

Vejaynand Ramlakan, the surgeon-general of the SANDF, said last night that Mandela was doing well.

“The medical team looking after the former president has reported that he has had a restful and peaceful night.

“Mandela is responding very well to medication and treatment. He continues to be visited by close family and relatives. The close monitoring and 24-hour care from a team of specialists continues.”

Sello Hatang, spokesman of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, referred questions about who may visit the former president to the presidency.

The presidency’s spokesman, Themba Maseko, said “it is the family that decides who and how many people can visit the former president at his home”.

Mandela’s street in Houghton was not so busy yesterday, with just joggers, dog walkers and the occasional vehicle breaking the Sunday silence.

This contrasted sharply with the frenzy while he was being treated at Milpark Hospital, which was fuelled by an information blackout.

Sunday Times reported yesterday that a “turf war” between the Department of Defence and the Nelson Mandela Foundation was behind a two-day information blackout, which led to speculation by local and international media about his health.

After reportedly intervening on Thursday, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe called a press conference on Friday and acknowledged the flow of information could have been better managed.

Goodwill gestures and get-well messages continued to pour in for the former president.

Churches countrywide held special services, praying for Mandela’s speedy recovery. Some also lit candles.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane offered prayers for Mandela and lit a candle of hope at a service at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church, in Soweto.

From the time Mandela was taken to hospital until yesterday, users of popular social networking websites Facebook and Twitter expressed appreciation of the struggle icon by loading his pictures on their profiles.

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