Nelson Mandela has been discharged from hospital and will return to his home in Johannesburg, despite being in a “critical” and “at times unstable” condition, the South African government confirmed today.
In an official statement issued by the office of President Jacob Zuma, it was revealed that the former president, known in the country as Madiba, continues to require intensive care, which will now be administered at his home.
The government has asked for Mr Mandela and his family to be given the “necessary private space” in which to “proceed with dignity”, but added that if there were further health problems that warranted another hospital admission in the future, this would be done.
The news came after the government said only yesterday it had “noted incorrect media reports” that Mr Mandela had been discharged, and said he was still in hospital in Pretoria.
Today, though, a statement read: “Former President Nelson Mandela has this morning, 1 September 2013, been discharged from the Pretoria hospital where he has been receiving treatment.
“Madiba's condition remains critical and is 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.
“His home has been reconfigured to allow him to receive intensive care there. The health care personnel providing care at his home are the very same who provided care to him in hospital.”
The Presidency added: “We would like to wish him all the best as he continues his recovery at his Johannesburg home.”
The BBC's Andrew Harding reported from South Africa that there had been a subdued atmosphere at Mr Mandela's home upon his return, and that today's news was not being greeted as a sign of significant recovery.
Rather, it was a development in itself that doctors decided he was well enough to make the 34-mile (55km) journey, and it was in line with Mr Mandela's family's wishes that ongoing care take place in the comfort of his home.
Mandla Mandela, the 95-year-old's grandson, said: "It is a day of celebration for us, that he is finally back home with us."