Australian minister apologises over Nelson Mandela gaffe
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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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