JOHANNESBURG: Anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela has been suffering from a lung infection but is responding to treatment, the government said yesterday, bringing some emotional relief to South Africans about the ageing statesman’s health.
“Doctors have concluded the tests, and these have revealed a recurrence of a previous lung infection, for which Madiba is receiving appropriate treatment, and he is responding to the treatment,” said a statement from President Jacob Zuma’s office.
During four days of medical tests that have brought only sketchy details about his condition, many South Africans appeared resigned to the fact that the nation’s first black president will not be around for ever.
“The thing is the man is very old, it’s hard to accept he won’t make it, but it’s his age,” said Victor Ncube, a waiter at a busy Johannesburg restaurant.
But the latest report has raised hopes for a prompt release from a Pretoria military hospital.
“He is a strong man,” said Victor Brown, a manager with an energy and chemical firm Sasol. “We hope for the best and hope he recovers well.”
While Mandela is said to be doing well, medical experts have warned that for a 94-year-old, any hint of an infection could be serious.
Chest infections are among the most common problems seen in elderly patients but “in people of extreme age (it) is always a potentially concerning factor,” said Mark Sonderup, vice chairman of the South African Medical Association. AFP