Former South African leader Nelson Mandela, 93, was admitted to hospital on Saturday after doctors advised specialist medical attention for a long-standing abdominal complaint.
“President Jacob Zuma wishes to advise that former president Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital today, the 25th February 2012,” a statement from the presidency said.
“Madiba has had a long-standing abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention.”
The health of the increasingly frail anti-apartheid icon, who is affectionately known as Madiba, sparked national fears after he was hospitalised early last year for an acute respiratory infection.
“We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world,” the statement from the presidency said.
“We request that all respect the privacy of Madiba and that of his family during this period.”
Mandela returned to his Johannesburg home last month from his rural home village in the Eastern Cape. He last appeared in public at the final of the football World Cup hosted by South Africa in July 2010.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, a year before he was elected the country’s first black president in South Africa’s first all-race vote and served one term before stepping down in 1999.