Johannesburg: Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has been discharged after spending two nights in a Johannesburg hospital on Friday.
In the first press conference on Mandela`s health since he was taken to hospital on Wednesday, South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said his life was not in immediate danger.
Giving an update on Mandela’s health, Vijay Ramlakan, surgeon-general of the South African National Defence Force, said the former South Africa president is in high spirits after an acute respiratory infection and there is no need to panic.
Ramlakan further allayed concerns over the frail health of the 92-year-old democracy icon by adding that the diseases suffered by Mandela are common to his age. He added that the medical panel was satisfied with Mandela’s recovery.
Minutes later, a convoy of security vehicles and a military ambulance left the hospital, carrying Mandela to his home nearby.
Earlier, the South African government said there was no need to panic over the health of the 92-year-old former South African president.
In a statement late Thursday, Motlanthe offered no specifics on why Mandela was taken to the hospital on Wednesday, but said he was undergoing specialised tests. Mandela undergoes regular hospital checkups, but his latest visit stretched into an unusually long stay.
Motlanthe referred to Mandela`s history of respiratory problems. Mandela contracted tuberculosis during his 27 years in prison.
"There has been mounting concern about the health of the former President Nelson Mandela," Motlanthe said. "Medically there is no need to panic."
Mandela`s office released only a brief statement on Wednesday, saying the visit was for routine tests and that Mandela was in "no danger and is in good spirits”. The relative silence surrounding Mandela`s hospitalisation had led to speculation about his condition.
The White House said President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama`s thoughts are with Mandela.
Mandela was jailed for 27 years for his fight against apartheid. He became South Africa`s first black president in 1994 and stepped down after serving one term in 1999. He largely retired from public life in 2004.
The public has seen only glimpses of him recently, such as in November, when his office released photos of a private meeting between Mandela and members of the US and South African soccer teams. The teams had just played a match in his honour.
Mandela also appeared at the closing ceremony of the World Cup in July, waving to the crowd as he was driven in a small golf cart alongside his wife, Graca Machel.
(With Agencies’ inputs)