Mandela still critical but stable, says Presidency

Pretoria, July 9 (IANS) South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela is still in a critical but stable condition in a hospital in Pretoria where he has been receiving treatment since June 8, the Presidency said in its latest update Tuesday.

President Jacob Zuma once again thanked the public for their support and prayers for the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon, government news agency SA News reported.

"We thank the public for the dignified gatherings outside the hospital. Many groupings and individuals have gathered in dignity, respecting the privacy of Madiba, other patients, their families and the hospital personnel," Zuma said.

"The prayer services around the country are also appreciated. We thank the international community as well for ongoing messages of support to Madiba and his family," the president added.

The month of July is being observed in the country as "Mandela Month", where people are being encouraged to do acts of good to benefit others.

Zuma last week denied reports that Mandela was in a vegetative state. He was admitted for a recurring lung infection.

Mandela is revered across the world for his role in the fight against white minority rule in South Africa. He was jailed for 27 years, before being freed in 1990 and elected president in 1994.

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