All nations must sign the Arms Trade Treaty adopted by the United Nations (UN), Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said. Photo: AP

Johannesburg - Political parties wished Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu a speedy recovery after he was admitted to hospital on Wednesday, with a “persistent infection”.

“We wish him a speedy recovery and trust that he will soon resume his noble duties in the transformative socio-economic agenda of our country,” African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the party was “saddened” by the news.

“The DA is saddened by news this evening that Desmond Tutu has been hospitalised for a recurring infection. We wish him a speedy recovery,” he said in a statement.

“The Archbishop, his friends and family will be in the thoughts and prayers of a great many people around the world tonight.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said Tutu was admitted to a private Cape Town hospital with a “persistent infection”.

“Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has checked into a Cape Town hospital for the treatment of a persistent infection and to undergo tests to discover the underlying cause,” the foundation said in a statement.

He spent the morning in his office before checking into hospital.

“He was in good spirits and full of praise for the care he receives...

“Non-surgical treatment is expected to take five days,” said the foundation.

The foundation declined to disclose the nature of the infection or which hospital he was admitted to, saying it wanted to ensure the family's privacy.

In December 2011, Tutu underwent an elective surgical procedure.

At the time, the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre declined to disclose the nature of the operation but said there was no cause for serious concern for the popular cleric who battled prostate cancer in the late 1990s.

Tutu celebrated his 81st birthday in October. - Sapa