Nelson Mandela Is 'Stable' After Operation

FORMER South African leader Nelson Mandela is in a "stable condition" after undergoing surgery in hospital today, according to reports. The 93-year-old is receiving care for a "long-standing abdominal complaint" that requires "specialist" care, said the country's leaders. The health of the increasingly frail anti-apartheid icon - known as Madiba - sparked national fears after he was hospitalised early last year for an acute respiratory infection. He has not been seen in public since the World Cup in 2010. South African President Jacob Zuma tried to play down the seriousness of the hospital admission. Mr Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj said: "I can assure you that the former president is in good spirits and well." Mr Maharaj - who was in prison in Robben Island with Mr Mandela - added: "This was a long-standing complaint - nothing that cropped up suddenly and needed emergency attention." The surgery is understood to be to treat a hernia complaint. Following the surgery reports said that Mr Mandela is "conscious, talking" and likely to leave hospital tomorrow. Earlier a statement from the South African presidency said: "President Jacob Zuma wishes to advise that former president Nelson Mandela was admitted to hospital today, the 25th February 2012. "Madiba has had a long-standing abdominal complaint and doctors feel it needs proper specialist medical attention. "We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him of the love and good wishes of all South Africans and people throughout the world."