People walk past piles of stones painted by well-wishers, as the visit outside the residence of former South African President Nelson Mandela, where Mandela is continuing to receive medical care after leaving the hospital, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. Current South African president Jacob Zuma said Tuesday that Mandela remains in critical condition, but notes the fact that he has left the hospital indicates the progress that he has made. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s president said today that he is pleased Nelson Mandela has gone home from a hospital, saying it indicates the anti-apartheid leader’s health has progressed even though he remains in critical condition.
An ambulance returned 95-year-old Mandela to his Johannesburg house on Sunday, and the office of President Jacob Zuma said he will receive the same level of care there that he did in the hospital, administered by the same doctors.
“He remains critical but stable, responding to treatment,” Zuma said in a meeting with journalists in Pretoria, the South African capital. “I think we feel very good that he reached a point where the doctors who were treating him felt he could now leave the hospital to his home, which indicates the progress he had made.”
Zuma also said: “We acknowledge that he is old and that he’s not well but we are very happy that he’s gone home, that he’s still with us.”
Mandela was admitted to the hospital on June 8 for what the government described as a recurring lung infection. Legal papers filed by his family said he was on life support.
Today, the former surgeon general of South Africa’s military, Vejay Ramlakan, visited Mandela’s home, the South African Press Association reported. Ramlakan was often seen arriving at the hospital in Pretoria during Mandela’s stay there.
Mandela has been treated by a large medical team from the military, academia, the private sector and other public health sectors, according to Zuma’s office.
Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is viewed around the world as a powerful figure of reconciliation. Despite being jailed for his prominent role in opposing white racist rule, Mandela was seemingly free of rancor on his release in 1990 after 27 years in prison. He became a unifying leader who led South Africa through a delicate transition to all-race elections that propelled him to the presidency in 1994.