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Australian minister apologises over Nelson Mandela gaffe

Last Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 12:07

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

First Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 12:07

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