Feb. 25 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy is among those wishing Nelson Mandela well as the 93-year-old is admitted to hospital with an abdominal complaint. Sunita Rappai reports.
Nelson Mandela's home in a suburb in Johanesburg, South Africa. The 93-year-old former president and anti-apartheid leader was taken to hospital on Saturday with a stomach ailment. A government statement said Mandela needed specialist medical treatment - though a spokesman from the ruling African National Congress said his admission was planned, and not an emergency. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANC SPOKESPERSON, KEITH KHOZA "He had abdominal pains for some time and they decided that he must receive the attention of the specialist, so it was not an emergency admission, it was planned, so we want people to understand that there's nothing to worry about all." The increasingly frail Mandela has been in poor health since spending a week at this hospital just over a year ago with respiratory problems. Amid worldwide concern for his health, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, at a farm fair in Paris, was among those wishing him a speedy recovery. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY "I hope that things will get better for him (Nelson Mandela), he's a man for whom I have great admiration. I met him on my trip to South Africa in 2008 and I welcomed him on two occasions in Paris. He is man who was very important in the past century and I really hope that he can overcome this hardship." Residents in Mandela's Johannesburg suburb also expressed concern. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HOUGHTON RESIDENT "Like all South Africans I am obviously concerned about his health and I do hope that he makes a speedy recovery, because he's so important to us and the world, (SOUNDBITE) (English) HOUGHTON RESIDENT, JENNIFER NTWANE "I love him as the father of my nation and he's the best man ever, as a person that I have never seen in my life and I wish to see him one day, but unfortunately, I don't know." Mandela, the country's first black president and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, stepped down from office in 1999. Sunita Rappai, Reuters