Maharaj denies Govt misled SA

Presidency’s Mac Maharaj has defended his statements on where Nelson Mandela was being treated.

Nelson Mandela reads an advanced copy of his book "Nelson Mandela by Himself" at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on 17 June 2011. Picture: Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj on Friday defended his statements on where Nelson Mandela is being treated, saying it was never government's intention to mislead the public or the media.

Eyewitness News established on Thursday that Madiba was not being treated at 1 Military Hospital as previously reported, but at a private facility in Pretoria.

The name of the facility is known to Eyewitness New s, but this is not being released to respect Madiba's dignity and privacy.

Maharaj defended his statements, saying he had only stated that Madiba was at a Pretoria hospital.

But the spokesperson chose not to corrected media reports either.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702, Maharaj explained government's actions.

"It is not part of any strategy or tactic by government to mislead the public. We have never had that intention. We know to keep to the facts and we've have been rigorous."

During the interview, Maharaj also made it sound as if he asked Eyewitness News not divulge the name of the facility.

But Eyewitness News, Editor-in-Chief Katy Katopodis said, " EWN did not disclose Madiba's hospital so as not to cause chaos at the hospital and to protect his privacy and not because Mac Maharaj said we must not."

The 94-year-old statesman was admitted to hospital on Saturday, and the presidency confirmed he was being treated for a recurring lung infection.

For nearly seven days, journalists waited for news outside 1 Military Hospital, despite Mandela never being admitted there.

Military police setup an additional checkpoint at the entrance, while Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Monday briefed the media on Madiba's health, after claiming to have visited him there.

Meanwhile, Eyewitness News has learnt that doctors are preparing to discharge uTata to his Houghton home.

Mandela served as South Africa's first democratic president and his humanitarian efforts continue to inspire people around the world.