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Press club to meet Sisulu over Mandela coverage

Staff Reporter

The National Press Club will meet with Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to discuss the treatment of journalists reporting on Mandela's hospitalisation.

The National Press Club is expected to meet with Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to discuss the treatment of journalists who were stationed outside the One Military hospital in Pretoria, the SABC has reported.

Press club chairperson Yusuf Abramjee told the broadcaster journalists should be treated with respect and allowed to do their job without fear.

Media had camped at One Military from mid-morning on Saturday after news broke that former president Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital.

A Beeld photographer was forced to delete pictures she had taken outside the facility.

“...I’ve had an indication from the minister’s office that she will be happy to meet a delegation from the National Press Club and the Foreign Correspondents Association hopefully tomorrow [Monday] to discuss the issue,” Abramjee told the SABC.

“The media has a job to do ... I think there could have been some common ground where the defence force could have said let’s try to find a resolution or some compromise.”

Journalists get the run around
By mid-morning on Saturday, news broke that Mandela had been admitted to an undisclosed hospital with a stomach ailment.

This resulted in journalists and photographers rushing from hospital to hospital in Tshwane and Johannesburg trying to locate him.

In Tshwane, Beeld photographer Theana Breugem, who had taken pictures of the One Military hospital building, was made to delete the pictures after being briefly detained.

Such buildings are assumed to be military key points, with pictures not allowed.

In Johannesburg, journalists were told to vacate the premises of Milpark Hospital—where Mandela was treated for a respiratory infection last year.

Discharged in good health
Mandela was discharged from hospital on Sunday as he was in “good health” and he had got a “good night’s rest”, the presidency said.

“The doctors have decided to send him home as the diagnostic procedure he underwent did not indicate anything seriously wrong with him,” it said in a statement.

President Jacob Zuma said he was making good progress.

“He is surrounded by his family and is relaxed and comfortable. The doctors are happy with the progress he is making.”

Zuma thanked all South Africans for their love and support of Madiba.

Non-invasive keyhole surgery
On Sunday, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said there was “nothing wrong” with Madiba and that he was admitted to undergo a laparoscopy.

“The reason why we took him to hospital is because he did have a discomfort, an ongoing discomfort,” she told a media briefing in Parliament.

“The only way we could finally get to the bottom of this was by taking him to hospital and having a number of tests to find out, if in fact, what was prescribed, what we were giving him, was working, and if we could not make it any better.”

Asked whether Mandela had undergone actual surgery, as speculated in the media, she said: “He had a laparoscopy ... an investigative laparoscopy.”

“It is not the kind of surgery you are thinking about, it’s non-invasive, but nonetheless investigative.”

A laparoscopy is also known as minimally invasive surgery, or keyhole surgery.—Sapa

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