Nelson Mandela was discharged from hospital yesterday after exploratory keyhole surgery for a long-standing abdominal complaint.
Officials declared the procedure to have been successful. "He is surrounded by his family and is relaxed and comfortable," said the South African President, Jacob Zuma.
Mr Zuma's spokesman, Mac Maharaj, added: "The doctors have decided to send [Mr Mandela] home as the diagnostic procedure did not indicate anything seriously wrong."
The Defence Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, said the 93-year-old former leader had a laparoscopy – a minor surgical procedure in which a fibre-optic instrument is used to view the abdomen or remove small growths.
"The reason why we took him to hospital is because he did have an ongoing discomfort," she said. "The only way we could finally get to the bottom of this was by taking him to hospital and having a number of tests to find out if, in fact, what was prescribed, what we were giving him, was working, and if we could not make it any better."
Just over a year ago, South Africa's first black president was admitted to a private Johannesburg hospital for two days for the treatment of an acute respiratory infection. Mr Mandela retired from public life in 2004 and his last public appearance was at the closing ceremony of the World Cup in July 2010.
Shortly before his 93rd birthday on 18 July last year, it was announced that he was moving back to Qunu, in his native Eastern Cape province. He moved back to Johannesburg at the end of last month while his home in Qunu is being renovated.