The South African government and his family are keeping former President Nelson Mandela’s hospital location a closely guarded secret so as not to compromise his privacy and that of his family, an official has told Premium Times.
“I can’t give you details of Mr. Mandela’s hospital because of his privacy and that of his family,” Mac Maharaj, spokesman to President Jacob Zuma, told this newspaper when he was asked the exact location of the globally revered anti-apartheid icon.
Mr. Maharaj signed the initial statement announcing that Mr. Mandela had been taken to hospital over a “long-standing abdominal complaint”.
He deliberately left out the hospital to which the former president was admitted, although the BBC suggested it was a military hospital in the capital, Pretoria.
He told Premium Times Mr. Mandela was now stable after he underwent surgery and that updates would be provided about his condition later today or tomorrow.
“As soon as we receive further details from the specialist treating him, and we show it to his family and President Zuma, we will issue a statement,” Mr. Maharaj said.
Mr. Mandela is perhaps the world’s most respected living figure. The South African government and the Mandela family fear that hordes of journalists and concerned fans of the global statesman might besiege his hospital once his location is known.
President Zuma’s office had earlier issued a statement saying the anti-apartheid icon was admitted to hospital overnight for “a long-standing abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention.”
“We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world
“We request that all respect the privacy of Madiba and that of his family during this period.”