27/04/2011 President Jacob Zuma at the Union Building during the freedom day celebration. Picture : Sizwe Ndingane

Durban - President Jacob Zuma spent three hours receiving treatment at Durban’s Life Entabeni Hospital during what insiders described as an “unscheduled routine check-up” on Saturday.

Heavily armed police from the VIP Protection Unit and Zuma’s plain-clothes bodyguards shut down the rear parkade of the hospital as the president was ushered into cardiac consulting rooms, and later the hospital’s VIP ward.

Members of his cavalcade – including black SUVs fitted with blue lights, marked police vehicles and metro police motorcycle escorts – stood guard at strategic points.

When the Sunday Tribune visited the hospital, military health personnel were also seen waiting with the heavily armed entourage.

Journalists were quickly ushered off the premises by security.

Hospital personnel and patients using the rear parkade of the hospital were questioned by officers.

It is understood that Zuma’s cardiologist, Dr Deena Dayalu, has rooms at the hospital.

According to a source at the hospital, who could not be named, Zuma had seen Dayalu for treatment which had not been planned.

Another source, who also could not be named, as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said that the hospital’s security was bolstered ahead of Zuma’s visit.

“More security guards were added to the staff, and paramedics and other medical personnel were instructed to use different entrances so as to avoid the usual volume of vehicle and foot traffic past the entrance to the cardiac catheterisation lab and rear parking lot,” the source said.

The source said Zuma used the theatre lift to get to the fifth floor – an area reserved for important patients.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Zuma had gone in for an annual routine check-up.

“It was a scheduled visit. There is nothing wrong with him. I saw him this morning, and I’ve spoken to his doctors. He’s been given a clean bill of health.”

Sunday Tribune