Zee Media Bureau
Sydney: An Australian minister apologised on Thursday for erroneously announcing that South African icon Nelson Mandela was dead.
Apologising to South Africa’s High Commissioner, Australian Resource Minister Gary Gray issued a statement expressing deep regret over his mistake of telling his dinner guests that Mandela was no more.
"I apologize unreservedly and am deeply sorry to have relayed what I thought was reliable advice," Gray said in a statement.
Resources Minister Gary Gray acknowledged he wrongly told guests attending a Mineral Council of Australia dinner at Parliament House on Wednesday that the anti-apartheid leader was dead.
Mr Gray`s gaffe over Mandela seemed to be influenced by rumours circulated on Twitter that Mr Mandela, who is critically ill and on a life support in a Pretoria hospital, had passed away overnight.
The Resources Minister, one of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd`s severest critics, has this morning agreed to stay on cabinet.
Mandela is in critical condition at a hospital. The 94-year-old former president was admitted to the Pretoria hospital on June 8 to be treated for what the government said was a recurring lung infection.
Mandela was jailed for 27 years under white racist rule. He was freed in 1990 and became South Africa`s first black president in 1994.
With Agency Inputs