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South Africa minister visits Mandela in hospital

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 10, 2012 at 8:17 a.m.

— South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela is “doing very, very well” while undergoing unspecified medical tests at a military hospital, the nation’s defense minister said Monday.

The office of the presidency said the anti-apartheid icon was being kept in the hospital for a third day for more tests.

Mandela is revered by South Africans, and by many people around the world, for being a leader of the struggle against racist white rule in South Africa and for preaching reconciliation once he emerged from prison in 1990 after 27 years behind bars. Mandela won South Africa’s first all-race elections in 1994 that marked the end of apartheid.

South Africans tensely awaited word Monday on Mandela even as authorities tried to offer reassurances, but gave no details.

Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula spoke to journalists outside 1 Military Hospital in the capital, Pretoria, after seeing Mandela, 94. She offered the first government confirmation that Mandela, who has received military medical care since 2011, is at that hospital.

“He’s doing very, very well,” she said. “And it is important to keep him in our prayers and also to be as calm as possible and not cause a state of panic because I think that is not what all of us need.”

A statement issued later Monday by the office of President Jacob Zuma said Mandela “had a good night’s rest. The doctors will still conduct further tests today. He is in good hands. “

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