DESPITE returning home from nearly three months in hospital, medical experts asserted Monday that South Africa’s peace icon, Nelson Mandela, would face a long and uncertain road to recovery.
The verdict came as the 95-year-old anti-apartheid hero continued Monday to receive intensive care for a respiratory illness at his Johannesburg home where he returned Sunday after 86 days in a Pretoria hospital.
“It’s going to be a difficult process, he has a lot of factors stacked up against him,” said Elvis Irusen, who heads the department of Pulmonology at the University of Stellenbosch.
Irusen said Mandela also has a long history of pulmonary illness to overcome, and his advanced years will make that recovery even more difficult.
“It does not look good,” said Irusen.
Details of Mandela’s recurring lung infection have been not revealed since he was admitted to hospital on June 8, fuelling speculation about his longterm health.
The Nobel peace laureate’s condition has been largely described as “critical but stable” and updates on his health have been infrequent.
In the past few months, the revered former leader was once said to be on life support and there were unconfirmed reports he had to be resuscitated.
Irusen said chances were high that the frail statesman is on a ventilator to aid his breathing.
“That comes with a lot of problems as well; a ventilator could make a person prone to infections,” he added.
But the South African Government has said he could be taken back to hospital “if there are health conditions that warrant another admission,” insisting that he will be treated by a large medical team from the military, private and public health sector.
His home has been reconfigured for the treatment.
Another pulmonary specialist, Umesh Lalloo, also spoke of a bleak prognosis.
“He has had a lot of health problem and his advanced age does not make it easier for him,”
“In this case, the progress of recovery is poorer,” he said.
In 1988, while serving his 27-year prison term, Mandela was diagnosed with early stage tuberculosis.
Two litres of fluid were drained from his chest and he spent six weeks recuperating in hospital.
Despite the experts’ gloomy outlook, ordinary South Africans who have been praying for Mandela’s recovery were on Sunday relieved that he was home.
His suburban Johannesburg home is still far from Qunu, a village where he grew up and he has long expressed a wish to live out his life.
Mandela is admired throughout the world for his lifelong sacrifice in fighting the brutal regime of racial segregation installed with apartheid in 1948, and for his role in bringing multiracial democracy to South Africa, a country many feared would disintegrate into civil war.
Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, after leading talks that ended white minority rule and put the ruling African National Congress in power.
He only served a single four-year term, stepping down in 1999.
A JUDICIAL panel set up by Egypt’s military-backed government backed a legal challenge to the status of the Muslim Brotherhood yesterday, compounding a drive to crush the movement behind the elected president deposed by the army in July.
A report by Reuters claimed that while the panel stopped short of calling for a formal ban on the Brotherhood, which worked underground for decades under Egypt’s previous military-backed rulers, its advice to a court to remove its NGO status threatens the million-member movement’s future in politics.
Meanwhile, a Cairo court yesterday ordered that an Islamist television channel be closed permanently, accusing it of attempting to disrupt the unity of Egypt.
The broadcaster, Al-Hafez, was ordered shut after accusations that it was “inciting hatred” against Coptic Christians and “undermining national unity”.
Also, an attack on a police station in central Cairo and plans for new mass protests by the Brotherhood Monday showed the elusive stability the interim government said it took over to impose after two and a half years of turmoil.
At least 900 people, most of them Islamist supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, have been killed since the army takeover on July 3. The government has accused the Brotherhood of inciting violence and terrorism, and arrested its leaders.
The Egypt’s oldest political organisation, the Brotherhood won a series of elections after protesters forced out longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011, culminating in last year’s presidential vote. It formally registered itself in March as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to secure its legal status.
The judicial panel backed Brotherhood opponents who argued that the NGO registration was illegal because the Brotherhood-led government had effectively issued a licence to itself.
The panel’s recommendation to the court due to rule on the case is not binding, judicial sources said, adding that the court’s next session would be on November 12.
It adds to a whole array of steps taken against the Brotherhood since the army stepped in after mass protests against economic mismanagement and attempts to entrench the movement’s power during Morsi’s rule.
The Brotherhood formally operates in the political arena as the Freedom and Justice Party, which there has so far been no attempt to outlaw, but its NGO status was seen as a bulwark against legal attack.