South African President Jacob Zuma was admitted to a hospital Saturday for a scheduled treatment for gallstones, a statement from the president's office said. The president found out about the gallstones two months ago during a checkup but put off treatment because of his schedule. But with Parliament in recess, the president decided to schedule the treatment. He is expected to be discharged Sunday.
The media previously reported on concerns surrounding the president's health. In June 2014, Zuma was admitted to the hospital for a thorough checkup, which led to the president working from home. Mounting public speculation on his health led to a series of press interviews to clarify the situation.
African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Zizi Kodwa told Times Live: "There's no indication to us that we should worry about the health of the president. The president is well but I think he needs a rest." The same report said high blood pressure, diabetes and a heart condition were to blame for the president's health problems.
Zuma was re-elected as president of South Africa after the ANC retained its parliamentary majority in the May 2014 elections. However, Zuma now governs with a slightly reduced majority, the ANC having lost 15 seats. Zuma is the fourth president of post-apartheid South Africa. The ANC has been the ruling party since apartheid ended.
His presidency has been controversial. Zuma is reported to have helped convicted Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir flee South Africa, and critics accuse him of using public funds to refurbish his home. The mother of former President Thabo Mbeki scolded Zuma in the press in 2012, saying he "doesn't have ideas that are his own."
Although he was the only ANC candidate in the previous election, at least four regional ANC leaders were said to have attempted to pressure Zuma not to seek a second term, IOL reported. The movement lost traction following the death of Nelson Mandela in December 2013.