The surgeon treating Nelson Mandela for tuberculosis said on Wednesday there was no need for concern over the health of South Africa's imprisoned black leader.

"Medically there is no need for concern about Mr. Mandela's condition. . . . It is well under control," Prof. Attie de Kock told a local television interviewer.He said Mandela, 70, under treatment for tuberculosis in Cape Town's Tygerberg Hospital, was now "moving around, getting exercise and physiotherapy."

"He is acting quite normally," de Kock said.

Earlier, Justice Minister Kobie Coetzee said he was deeply perturbed about Mandela.

"The entire issue, as well as steps to ensure a speedy recovery, are receiving my personal attention," said Coetzee, who has said privately that he favors freeing Mandela.

The South African government is under pressure from politicians, newspapers and churchmen to free Mandela, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 for plotting to overthrow white minority rule.

In the interview, de Kock did not indentify the cause of Mandela's illness. "I am bound by what Mr. Mandela has given me consent to say about his condition," he said.

After visiting the hospital on Tuesday, lawyer Ismail Ayob announced Mandela was suffering from tuberculosis, coughing up blood and had aged dramatically.

De Kock, professor of Internal Medicine at Stellenbosch University, denied Mandela had been coughing up blood.