JOHANNESBURG — Former South African President Nelson Mandela underwent more medical tests Monday in a military hospital as the public and journalists outside asked: What, if anything, is wrong with the health of the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon?
Government officials in charge of releasing information about Mandela have repeatedly declined to provide specifics about his now three-day hospitalization, calling on citizens to respect the beloved politician's privacy.
Such is the level of confidentiality surrounding Mandela's hospitalization that it wasn't until Monday that the public received government confirmation that he was being treated at 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria, the capital. That word came from Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who visited the aging leader there.
She said Mandela's release date would be determined by the result of the tests.
"He's doing very, very well," Mapisa-Nqakula said. "And it is important to keep him in our prayers and also to be as calm as possible and not cause a state of panic because I think that is not what all of us need."
The presidency later issued a statement Monday saying Mandela "had a good night's rest" and would have more tests done.
"He is in good hands," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said in the statement.
Chavez arrives in Cuba
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in Cuba on Monday for a fourth cancer-related operation after designating the vice president as his political heir.
Chavez was greeted warmly by Cuban President Raul Castro in the early morning darkness after his plane touched down at Havana's Jose Marti Airport.
The 58-year-old president plans to undergo cancer surgery in Havana in the coming days.