23 October 2013

South Africa: Faulty Engine Caused Madiba Ambulance Breakdown

Johannesburg — The military ambulance which transported former President Nelson Mandela to hospital on June 8 broke down because of a faulty engine, said the department of defence and military veterans.

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the vehicle had been serviced three months earlier.

"The vehicle was taken back to the dealer to ascertain the cause of the breakdown, after which the cause of the engine failure was identified.

"The dealer indicated that the specific engine part did not form part of the normal checklist for the particular major service," Mapisa-Nqakula said in a written response to parliamentary questions posed by Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier.

The ambulance was transporting Mandela from his Houghton home in the early hours of the morning to the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria when it became stranded reportedly for almost 45 minutes on the side of the highway.

Mandela was suffering from a recurring lung infection.

Shortly after the incident, the presidency said Mandela's health was not compromised during the breakdown.

Mapisa-Nqakula said: "A fully equipped military Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ambulance was immediately dispatched to replace the first ambulance; and a full complement of specialist medical staff inclusive of intensive care specialists and ICU nurses were also on board the second ambulance.

"The military ICU ambulance was also accompanied by a civilian ambulance and two response vehicles for the remainder of the journey."

Mandela spent almost three months in hospital.

He was discharged on September 1 and was receiving medical treatment at home.

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