Acting president Kgalema Motlanthe has reassured everyone that former president Nelson Mandela is well and there is no reason to panic.

Acting President Kgalema Motlanthe thanked South Africans and everyone around the world for their prayers and well wishes during former president Nelson Mandela's hospital stay. He was addressing the press conference held at Milpark Hospital on Friday.

He also thanked the media for conveying the prayers and well wishes to the public. He also mentioned that over 10 000 messages of support were received including from US President Barack Obama.

“Madiba is well and receiving the best treatment available,” he said, reassuring everyone that there was no need to panic or fear for Madiba's health. Motlanthe spoke of how Madiba joked with his visitors and teased his wife Graca Machel and his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. “He is in good spirits and was joking with us. He was even teasing Graca and Winnie,” he said. “We'll keep you posted on all developments. Please remain calm. We pray that Madiba will be around to celebrate his 93rd birthday with us.”

Surgeon general Vejaynand Ramlekan said Madiba's routine check-up was a normal part of his health regimen. “Mandela is in high spirits. He has diseases common to his age which have developed over the years. We are at the end of the day talking about a 92-year-old. When you are over 90 your health is very different from when you are 19.” said Ramlaken. “Madiba has an acute respiratory infection and he has responded well to treatment. He is not receiving any assisted ventilation. He is stable but subject to intense monitoring. He continues to surprise us on a daily basis with the power of his recovery.

“He is not as mobile as he was before and his attitude has helped him cope with the condition with grace,” he said, adding that Madiba would be discharged to receive home-based care.

He said the family had made the necessary arrangements for Mandela to be returned to his Houghton home. Ramlaken asked that there be no wild speculation about Madiba's health as his medical team would release regular bulletins to update the public on his condition.

He urged the media to respect Madiba's rights to privacy and dignity, including doctor-patient confidentiality. He then thanked Netcare for their health facilities and the professionalism they displayed during Madiba's hospital stay.

Motlanthe admitted that the government could have done more to be more communicative about Madiba’s condition. “We could have handled this matter differently.

The former president is not only a South African but also belongs to the world. We should indeed have indicated that he is being hospitalised. We will do that in future,” he said. Madiba’s grandson Mandla Mandela said his grandfather’s humour got better with age. “The older he gets, the more his humour grows. We have always enjoyed his sense of humour and it comes with great joy to hear that he has been discharged.” - IOL reporter