Govt. failed to follow Madiba protocol - Sanef

Sanef says it is disappointed that government did not follow protocol agreed upon earlier this year.

Sanef chairperson Mondli Makhanya. Picture: SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Saturday said it was disappointed that government did not follow protocol agreed upon earlier this year, regarding updates on the former president Nelson Mandela’s health.

The 94-year-old world icon has been in hospital for a week following a recurring lung infection.

In February, the former minister of defence and the media agreed on procedures to be followed in the event that Madiba is hospitalised.

But on Monday, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula confirmed that Mandela was being treated at Pretoria’s 1 Military Hospital - a claim that proved to be false.

On Thursday, Eyewitness News revealed that the former statesman was actually been kept at another private hospital in the capital city.

Sanef chairperson Mondli Makhanya said the media and public were misled and let down by government because even though Mandela's privacy should be respected, his health is of public concern.

“Nelson Mandela is more than just a member of the Mandela family, he is more than just a former president. He is someone who is very close to hearts of everybody and the government, unfortunately, has not been playing ball.”

Meanwhile, Mapisa-Nqakula on Friday refused to comment on the issue.

Speaking on the record earlier this week, she told journalists outside the facility that Madiba was being treated inside and was in "high spirits".

It is not clear when Mandela will be discharged, but the Presidency said he is “comfortable in hospital”.

Madiba has been visited by President Jacob Zuma, former president Thabo Mbeki, his wife Graça Machel and members of his family.

Local and international media have also converged outside Mandela’s Houghton home in northern Johannesburg, as messages of support continue to pour in for the man dubbed “the father of the nation”.

In January 2011, Mandela was treated at Johannesburg's Milpark Hospital for a respiratory infection.

There is also a strong security presence outside Mandela's home in Houghton in northern Johannesburg.

Members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) who are guarding the former president’s home were adamant that journalists do not stand outside the home.

The police have asked reporters to move up the road and watch activities at the house from a far.