Mandela admitted in hospital

Fakir Hassen

Johannesburg, Jan 27 (PTI) Former South AfricanPresident Nelson Mandela has been admitted to a hospitalfor a medical checkup, amid growing speculation that thedemocracy icon could be ''very ill''.

Visitors, including top ANC officials, continued toflock to the Milpark Hospital here for a second day as NobelLaureate Mandela, 92, remained under observation for "routinetests", as stated by his Foundation.

Earlier rumours had started on social networks thatMandela was very ill, some even declaring that the leader haddied.

Neither the Mandela family nor the hospital wouldprovide any details of what was ailing the iconic leader wholed South Africa to democracy.

The only official statement was a brief one from theNelson Mandela Foundation, which said Mandela was "in nodanger and in good spirits."

ANC spokesperson Brian Sokhutu said that somesenior leaders of the ANC would shortly visit Mandelaafter consulting the family as he repeated a call to SouthAfricans to avoid undue panic about the leader''s health.

A spokesman for President Jacob Zuma, who was inDavos at the World Economic Forum, said he had no plans toreturn early in view of Mandela''s hospitalisation.

A huge contingent of local and foreign media hasbeen camping out at vantage points on the periphery of thehospital, especially on a motorway bridge overlooking thefacility.

Local police removed them from the bridge, yesterday,citing danger to themselves and passing motorists.

Thorough checks are also being conducted on vehiclesentering the hospital premises, including examining the trunksfor possible hidden journalists trying to sneak into thehospital.

Social networks are being flooded with messages ofgoodwill for Mandela, with a poignant message from hisgranddaughter Zoleka Mandela on Facebook being widelycirculated.

"I really hate to see you this way. It kills me eachtime. Know that I''m here for you as I believe you have alwaysbeen for me. We are all with you every step of the way.

�Spending my next few days with you just so I knowthat you''ll be OK. I''m saddened," read the message.

Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994to 1999, and was the first South African president to beelected in a fully representative democratic election.

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