Friday’s statement said Mandela, 94, who was discharged from hospital in April after receiving treatment for a lung infection, had suffered the same illness in the past few days.
It added that the Nobel laureate was receiving expert medical care and doctors were doing “everything possible to make him better and comfortable”.
President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of government and the nation, wished Madiba, Mandela’s clan name, a speedy recovery and requested the media and the public respect the privacy of the former president and his family.
Mandela, revered at home and abroad for leading the struggle against white minority rule, has been in and out of hospital for lung infection and other health problems.
Last year, he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials initially described as tests but what turned out to be an acute respiratory infection.
In March and April, global figures such as US President Barack Obama sent him get-well messages and South Africans included Mandela in their Easter prayers.
Mandela, who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and served only one term in office, was jailed on Roben Island for 27 years for resisiting white minority rule.
Mr Gilmore was speaking after a meeting with a group of retired international leaders, The Elders.
Former US President Jimmy Carter said he was encouraged by a meeting this morning.
Mr Carter was at a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs with representatives of 20 EU states, who unanimously supported the labelling move.
Former President Mary Robinson, another member of The Elders, said they were not happy that the EU just “talks the talk” and said they wanted to see practical steps.
Mr Gilmore said work was under way at EU level to introduce labelling, and it would clearly be more effective if it was done at European level.
However, he said the Government had a process in train to do it unilaterally if necessary.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is an Honorary Elder.
“It was definitely murder – they clearly offed her with a pillow over her face because she knew too much about the Jimmy Savile scandal,” Rudolf Hambone has claimed on his daily internet radio show. Right On. “I mean, does anyone really believe that nonsense about an eighty seven year old woman with her life ahead of her dying from natural causes, completely out of the blue?” As the world reels from the news of the passing of the sainted former Prime Minister, celebrated conspiracy theorist and right-wing commentator Hambone is asking the question: who killed Maggie Thatcher? Rejecting the official story that she died peacefully in her sleep, Hambone has used his daily political discussion show to speculate, to the consternation of many of his fellow right-wing nut jobs, that Lady Thatcher was actually the victim of a high level conspiracy hell-bent on covering up the true extent of the establishment’s involvement with disgraced former Radio One DJ Jimmy Savile’s sex crimes. “If it wasn’t murder, then why were they so secretive about the removal of her body, putting all those black screens up around the Ritz Hotel and taking her out in an unmarked van?” he demaned in yesterday’s broadcast. “In fact, why was she at the Ritz in the first place? I don’t buy this nonsense about her recuperating there after hospital treatment – why didn’t she just go home like everyone else does?” He has also cast doubt on claims that, toward the end of her life, Mrs Thatcher was suffering dementia. “If she really was gaga, why was she at the Ritz? I didn’t know that room service there extended to geriatric nursing care!” he observed. “She was fooling no one, wandering around her house with a flowerpot on her head doing seagull impressions – it was all an act designed to convince ‘them’ that she remembered nothing about the Savile conspiracy!”
According to Hambone, the then Mrs Thatcher, a close confidant of Jimmy Savile in the 1980s, used her position as Prime Minister to prevent the police from pursuing complaints of sexual assault against the late TV personality. “She also got the Security Service, MI5, to ensure that stories about Savile’s conduct were never published by the press,” Hambone asserted on his programme. “The fact was that Savile was the centre of a paedophile ring involving numerous members of the British establishment, including at least one member of the royal family and several Tory cabinet ministers!” Thatcher, he claimed, engaged in the conspiracy after becoming besotted with Savile. “She was always susceptible to silver tongued bastards with a plausible line in patter – if it wasn’t Savile making her go weak at the knees, it was Reagan, PW Botha or General Pinochet,” Hambone explained. “Savile knew exactly how to butter her up with well-placed flattery – he even persuaded her to lend him the Prime Minister’s official country residence at Chequers for one of his notorious sex parties!” With Savile’s death in 2011 and the subsequent revelations about his activities, other members of the paedophile ring naturally began to worry that they, too, could be exposed. “They began to worry that Lady Thatcher could be the weak link,” claimed the broadcaster. “In fact, her ploy of pretending to be gaga backfired, as they became so worried that she might let something slip in her demented ramblings, that they decided they had to silence her!”
Hambone’s theories have been met with hostility from both left and right on the political spectrum. “It’s ludicrous and, frankly, insulting to suggest that Thatcher could have been the victim of some phantom conspiracy of the rich and privileged,” commented Labour MP Ron Smidghurst in the his column in the Daily Norks. “The list of good honest working class people who could happily have killed her is practically endless. But obviously, the right could never accept that someone from the lower orders might be able to successfully ‘off’ their precious Iron Lady! Oh no, it could only have been some toff!” However, right-wingers are equally appalled by Hambone’s allegations. “These claims, linking Lady Thatcher with something as sordid as a sex scandal, before she’s even cold really are despicable. It is clearly just a crude attempt by some publicity-seeker to boost listening figures for his obscure internet broadcast by capitalising on the demise of this poor woman,” said Norbert Clenchingthorpe, deputy editor of the vDaily Excess, which included a thirty page full colour glossy supplement celebrating the life of Lady Thatcher in its latest issue, along with an editorial calling for her canonisation. “I suppose we should be thankful that he isn’t claiming that her children, Mark and Carole, smothered the old lady for their inheritance, I mean, that Mark Thatcher was always getting into scrapes wasn’t he, and Carole must need the money since she was dropped by the BBC. Not they would have done such a thing, obviously.”
The Excess has its own theories as to the untimely demise of Lady Thatcher. “If she was murdered – and that is a very big if, despite all those stories about her health, we believe she was still fit enough to best any attacker in hand-to-hand combat – we believe that it would have been a politically motivated assassination,” Clenchingthorpe has claimed. “Indded, our money is on it being linked to her support for the apartheid regime in South Africa – we’ve had several reports of a black man having been seen hanging around the back of the Ritz. Obviously, they are far too upmarket an establishment to be employing that sort. Moreover, was it just coincidence that Nelson Mandela was released from hospital just a few days before her death? Is his supposed infirmity just a cover? Does he have an alibi for the night of Lady Thatcher’s death?”
Hambone is adamant that his version of events is true. “If she wasn’t murdered, then why will there be no lying in state for Lady Thatcher? Why can’t we see the body?” he asked on his latest show. “Is it because it shows the marks of violence? Ligature marks around her throat, perhaps? Or maybe a gaping bullet wound?” He has also queried the levels of security which will surround Lady Thatcher’s funeral, with troops guarding the route. “Just what are they worried about?” he asked. “Are they afraid that someone might try to break open the coffin and expose the fact she was murdered?” Ron Smidgehurst has another explanation for the security precautions. “They’re more worried that some of the poor bastards who suffered under her diabolical policies will try and drive a stake through her heart, just to make sure she’s dead, if they have her lying in state,” he claimed in his newspaper column. “It’s the same with the security on the funeral route – they’re afraid the coffin will be hijacked and her body disinterred and beheaded by an angry mob. I just hope that nobody chants ‘Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, Out, out, out!’ while the hearse is passing by, otherwise the evil old bat will come crawling out of her coffin to blight our lives all over again!”