S. Africa's De Klerk out of hospital

South Africa's last apartheid president FW de Klerk was discharged from hospital on Wednesday following an operation to have a pacemaker fitted, paying tribute to his ailing successor Nelson Mandela's legacy of reconciliation.

De Klerk, 77, who spent the night in a Cape Town hospital, fell ill after returning early from a European trip due to his fellow Nobel peace laureate's grave condition.

After leaving hospital he lauded Mandela's "philosophy of the necessity for reconciliation".

"I think his legacy will become much more alive again and it can only be good for South Africa," De Klerk told the eNCA news channel.

Mandela is spending a 26th day in hospital with a recurring lung infection.

De Klerk said he had felt light-headed while in London and visited his physician once home.

"It could have become much more serious," he told the broadcaster.

As the country's last apartheid ruler, De Klerk released Mandela after 27 years of apartheid prison in 1990 in a move that paved the way to multi-race democracy.

Mandela became president four years later and De Klerk served as one of his two deputies.