Nelson Mandela recovering after successful gallstones operation

After eight days in hospital, officials finally reveal why South Africa's former president is there - but not the location

JOHANNESBURG

Nelson Mandela remained in hospital for an eighth day yesterday, as the government revealed that he has successfully undergone a procedure to have gallstones removed.

"The former president underwent a procedure via endoscopy to have gallstones removed. The procedure was successful and Madiba is recovering," President Jacob Zuma's office said in a statement, using Mr Mandela's clan name.

The government statement said that the 94-year-old was admitted to a hospital near Pretoria, one of South Africa's three capital cities, on 8 December for medical tests, which revealed a recurrence of a lung infection, and that he had developed gallstones. The medical team decided to treat the lung infection before attending to the gallstones, it said.

However, with conflicting information regarding his whereabouts, and the government refusing to confirm where he is being treated, concern has been growing and rumours continue to circulate about his health. Concern about his condition was not eased by conflicting information from ministers regarding his whereabouts and what he is being treated for. The Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, told journalists that she visited Mr Mandela at 1 Military Hospital, a facility where he has previously received treatment. But local journalists began reporting on Thursday that Mr Mandela wasn't there. A spokesman for President Zuma declined to resolve the confusion.

Yesterday, the South African National Editors' Forum issued a statement criticising the government for not being straightforward with journalists about Mr Mandela's hospitalisation. The forum said that journalists had been working with the government to set up guidelines on how to handle coverage of Mr Mandela in the press in his waning years, though state officials ultimately declined to sign off on the agreement.

The statement read: "Senior government representatives have sought to justify misleading statements about the circumstances surrounding Mr Mandela's whereabouts on the basis of irresponsible conduct by print and broadcast news organisations. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Mr Mandela has a history of lung problems, having fallen ill with tuberculosis in 1988, towards the end of his 27 years in prison, before his release and subsequent presidency. Doctors said at the time that the disease caused no lasting damage to his lungs, but medical experts say tuberculosis can cause problems years later for those infected. The Nobel laureate also had an acute respiratory infection in January 2011. Following the chaos that surrounded his stay at a public hospital then, the South African military took charge of his care, and the government took control of information about his health.

News concerning the former president's health comes as the country's governing African National Congress (ANC) prepares to choose its next leader. Some 4,000 delegates will gather in Bloemfontein today to decide whether President Zuma should continue to lead the party, or whether he should be replaced by his trade unionist deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, who would then be likely to become the next president.

President Zuma, 70, is the favourite heading into the conference, after winning the nominations in most provincial ANC polls. He has wide support among Zulus, South Africa's largest ethnic group, as well as from a loyal cadre of government and party officials. But many people have grown disenchanted with Mr Zuma, who was fired as deputy president by Thabo Mbeki in 2005, after he was implicated in the corruption trial of Schabir Shaik over a 1999 arms deal.

His main rival in the ANC is Mr Motlanthe, 63, who served as a caretaker president of South Africa from September 2008 to May 2009. Mr Motlanthe offers what appears to be the opposite of President Zuma's leadership – a quiet, pensive and technocratic approach, that differs from the President's crowd-pleasing comments and dancing.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?