Minister mum on Madiba lie claims

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will not comment on her statement that Madiba was at 1 Military Hospital.

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will not comment on her statement that Madiba was at 1 Military Hospital. Picture: Sapa.

HOUGHTON - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Friday refused to comment on her statement that former president Nelson Mandela was being treated at 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria earlier this week.

On Monday, Mapisa-Nqakula told journalists on the record that she saw Madiba at the Pretoria facility.

She addressed the media, which was camping outside 1 Military Hospital, saying he was in high spirits.

But on Thursday night, it emerged the statesman was actually at a private hospital elsewhere in the capital.

He was admitted last Saturday and is being treated for a lung infection.

The minister's spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga told Eyewitness News she would not be responding to claims that she misled the media on Mandela's whereabouts.

Journalists have now gathered outside Madiba's home in Houghton in northern Johannesburg, as messages continue to pour for the 'father of the nation'.

This is the 94-year-old's longest hospitalisation in recent years.

In February, he was admitted to hospital for one night for a diagnostic procedure.

Last January, he spent several days in Milpark Hospital while being treated for an acute respiratory infection.