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South African President Returns to Work Following Brief Hospitalization - 2004-01-12

South African President Thabo Mbeki has resumed his normal duties one day after a food allergy sent him to the hospital.

South Africa's surgeon general, Rinus Jansen Van Rensburg, says doctors are currently trying to determine exactly what kind of food triggered Mr. Mbeki's allergic reaction. He added the event was not severe and that Mr. Mbeki has been given a clean bill of health.

The 61-year-old president was attending a re-election rally on Sunday in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg when he began having trouble breathing. Mr. Mbeki was first examined by military doctors before being taken to a nearby hospital. The president was released one hour later.

The rally officially kicked off the ruling African National Congress' campaign for national elections that will likely take place in March or April. President Mbeki is seeking a second five-year term.

A spokesman for the president, Bheki Khumalo, says Mr. Mbeki will attend a planned meeting with senior ANC officials later Monday. On Tuesday, he will travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo for a state visit as scheduled.

Saturday, the ANC unveiled its election manifesto, pledging to spend $15 billion over the next 10 years to improve roads, railways, air transport, and telecommunications.

The party has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid and white minority rule in 1994.