Nelson Mandela in 2008 at his 90th birthday celebrations, flanked by former president Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma. Picture: THE TIMES
Nelson Mandela in 2008 at his 90th birthday celebrations, flanked by former president Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma. Picture: THE TIMES

FORMER South African president Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital on Saturday afternoon.

The Presidency confirmed in a statement that the 94-year-old was admitted to 1 Military Hospital in Thabatshwane, Pretoria, after being brought from his Transkei retirement home for tests, adding, however, that there was “no cause for alarm”.

“The medical team is assured of our support as they look after and ensure the comfort of our beloved founding president of a free and democratic South Africa,” said the Presidency’s statement.

“As said before, former president Mandela will receive medical attention from time to time, which is consistent with his age,” Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions sent its best wishes to the former president.

“We hope it is true, as reported by the presidential spokesperson, that there is no cause for concern or alarm,” said spokesman Patrick Craven in a statement.

In January last year, Mr Mandela was treated for an acute chest infection, which saw him admitted to Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital.

He had been admitted for what the Nelson Mandela Foundation at the time called “routine checks”,  and this was followed by a news blackout that led to a frenzy of rumours and media attention.

He was then released in a stable condition for home-based care and monitoring.

On Saturday, the Presidency appealed to the media and the public to respect the privacy of Mr Mandela and his family.

With Sapa