President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson says Nelson Mandela is in hospital for a routine checkup for conditions consistent with his age. Jessica Gray reports.
South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela, seen here in June 2012 celebrating his 94th birthday with family. On Saturday, Mandela was hospitalized in the capital Pretoria for what officials described as routine medical procedures. The government says there is no need to panic and that Mandela was being treated for chronic issues to do with his age, but refused to say more. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENCY SPOKESMAN MAC MAHARAJ SAYING: "The doctors are conducting tests and have thus far indicated there is no reason for any alarm. In the meantime we would like to appeal to the public to respect Madiba's privacy, to enable the doctors to do their work with regards to their patient, and to respect the privacy of the family." Many across the country are sending their prayers for the anti-apartheid leader. Mandela was also hospitalized in December for a lung infection following a minor surgery. He has had several issues with his breathing since he caught tuberculosis during his 27 years in prison. END