Skip to main content

Spokesman: Ambulance rushing Mandela to hospital broke down

By Faith Karimi, CNN
June 24, 2013 -- Updated 0035 GMT (0835 HKT)
Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, died on Thursday, December 5, according to the country's president, Jacob Zuma. Mandela was 95. Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president who reconciled South Africa after the end of apartheid, died on Thursday, December 5, according to the country's president, Jacob Zuma. Mandela was 95.
HIDE CAPTION
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
The evolution of Nelson Mandela
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Despite the incident, Mandela's health was not compromised, spokesman says
  • Mandela is in a serious but stable condition in the hospital, government says
  • He has been hospitalized since June 8 for a recurring lung infection

(CNN) -- An ambulance that rushed former South African President Nelson Mandela to hospital two weeks ago broke down on the way there, but the anti-apartheid icon's health was not compromised, a government spokesman said Saturday.

Mandela has been hospitalized in serious but stable condition in Pretoria since June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

"When the ambulance experienced engine problems, it was decided that it would be best to transfer to another military ambulance which itself was accompanied for the rest of the journey by a civilian ambulance," spokesman Mac Maharaj said.

South Africa's first black president gets round-the-clock care, and his house is retrofitted with medical equipment that mirrors that of an intensive care unit.

Daughter: He is at peace
Nelson Mandela in critical condition
Mandela relatives lay claim
The whole world prays for one man
Zuma: Nelson Mandela makes progress

The military ambulance he used at the time is fully-equipped and includes intensive care specialists and nurses, and two quick response vehicles, according to the spokesman.

"All care was taken to ensure that the former President Mandela's medical condition was not compromised by the unforeseen incident," Maharaj said.

Mandela, 94, has become increasingly frail over the years and has not appeared in public since South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010.

Despite his rare public appearances, news of his ailment sparks concerns worldwide.

"I think the concern, the anxiety shown by people throughout the world and South Africa is perfectly understandable," Maharaj said this month. "The most important thing is that we should realize that this is a life that we need to celebrate, even when he's with us. And we will celebrate it, even when he is not with us."

Mandela has been in and out of hospital in recent years.

His history of lung problems dates to when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during the apartheid era, and he has battled respiratory infections over the years.

Last year, he spent the Christmas holidays undergoing treatment for a lung infection and gallstones, one of his longest hospital stays since his release from prison in 1990.

Considered the founding father of South Africa's democracy, Mandela became an international figure while enduring 27 years in prison for fighting against apartheid, the country's system of racial segregation.

In 1993, Mandela and then-South African President F.W. de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The iconic leader was elected the nation's first black president a year later, serving only one term, as he had promised.

Even as he has faded from the spotlight, he retains his popularity and is considered a hero of democracy in the nation. Last year, South Africa launched a new batch of banknotes with a picture of a smiling Mandela on the front.

Mandela's impact extends far beyond South African borders. After he left office, he mediated conflicts from Africa to the Middle East.

He turns 95 next month.

CNN's Kim Norgaard contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0046 GMT (0846 HKT)
A 9-year-old girl learning to fire a submachine gun accidentally killed her instructor at a shooting range, according to Arizona authorities.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
ISIS has made surprise gains in Iraq and Syria in recent months, but may begin to suffer setbacks on the battlefield.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
The fear of Russian invasion is receding but peace may still be tricky to find.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0815 GMT (1615 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
The signs exist that indicate U.S. airstrikes into Syria are on the way.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
The mother of a hostage freed after two years captivity says it's not time to party.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0600 GMT (1400 HKT)
"I just love it when I get milk-to-dark converts," says Kerrin Rousset, before she leads a small cocoa-hungry crowd through Zurich's Old Town.
ADVERTISEMENT