Melbourne, Jan 28 (ANI): South Africa's acting president Kgalema Motlanthe says Nelson Mandela is "alive and kicking".
"I want to say to you, he's alive and kicking. He hasn't passed on," News.com.au quoted Motlanthe as apparently telling TV station SABC in Cape Town today.
"As you all know former president Nelson Mandela was admitted for a routine check yesterday in hospital. That has set the rumour mill into overdrive.
"Because of this overdrive people have been receiving SMSs indicating that he has passed on," he said.
Motlanthe's comments came amid a news blackout from the Nelson Mandela Foundation on the health of the former president who was admitted to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday for "routine checks".
Mandela was recovering from a collapsed lung, according to an agency report.
On Wednesday, the former president's aides said he was "undergoing routine tests" and was "in good spirits" but have since kept quiet on his condition.
Yesterday the office of South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma, called for calm.
"President Mandela is comfortable and is well looked after by a good team of medical specialists," the office said.
"We urge the media to afford him the dignity and respect that he is entitled to as the country's founding democratic president, as a national hero and also as a citizen of the republic," it added. (ANI)