FORMER president Nelson Mandela has been discharged from hospital, the Presidency said on Sunday — a day after denying media reports that Mr Mandela had gone home after spending more than two months in hospital.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Mr Mandela had been discharged on Sunday morning although his condition remained critical and "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," he said, adding: "If there are health conditions that warrant another admission to hospital in future, this will be done."
Mr Mandela’s home has been adapted to allow for his continued care and the same staff who had looked after him at the hospital will now be stationed at his house.
"Despite the difficulties imposed by his various illnesses, he, as always, displays immense grace and fortitude," said Mr Maharaj. "We would like to wish him all the best as he continues his recovery at his Johannesburg home."
Later on Sunday, reporters were stationed outside Mr Mandela’s Houghton residence, where an ambulance and police officials were also on the scene amid tight security. Some passers-by gave messages of support.
Mandela was admitted to hospital on June 8 with a recurring lung infection.
On Saturday, the BBC, among other news organisations, reported that Mr Mandela had been sent home, but Mr Maharaj then said such reports were incorrect.
Earlier this month, Mr Mandela’s youngest daughter, Zindzi Mandela, told the South African Broadcasting Corporation that her father was becoming more alert and responsive each day.
"Tata now manages to sit up, like now he is able to sit up in a chair for a few minutes in a day. Every day, you know, he is becoming more alert, more responsive and so on," she said.
"Tata is determined not to go anywhere any time soon. I cannot stress this enough. People must stop saying to the family, ‘Let go, let go.’ We are just looking at this man who is saying, ‘I’m not going anywhere,’" she said after visiting Mr Mandela in hospital.
Both the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), welcomed the news of Mr Mandela’s discharge from hospital.
“We believe that receiving treatment at home will afford him continuous support from his family and loved ones,” ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.
DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said: “We are happy that Madiba is able to return to the comfort of his home.”
With Sapa and Khulekani Magubane