Mandela's condition improving in hospital, says Zuma

Johannesburg, June 12 (IANS) Ailing 94-year-old former South African president Nelson Mandela is responding better to treatment in hospital, President Jacob Zuma said Wednesday, reported Xinhua.

"I am happy to report that Mandela's condition is improving from this morning," Zuma said in Cape Town, marking the 49th anniversary of the sentencing of Mandela to life imprisonment in 1964.

"We are very happy with the progress that he is now making following a difficult last few days," said the president.

Mandela, who stayed in his residence in Johannesburg, was early Saturday rushed to a hospital in Pretoria for urgent treatment with the serious lung infection.

The presidency said Saturday morning that Mandela "remains in a serious but stable condition, and doctors are doing everything possible to make him better".

Zuma said the South African government appreciates the messages of support from all over the world, and added "it is an honour for us as South Africans to share Mandela with the international community".

"On this crucial historical anniversary, our thoughts are with Mandela," said Zuma.

This is the third time for Mandela to be admitted to hospital this year. On March 27, he was hospitalized after doctors diagnosed him of having pneumonia.

He was also admitted in December for the recurrent lung infection.

On Wednesday, Zuma said: "We urge South Africans and the international community to continue to keep Mandela in their thoughts and prayers."

Mandela suffered from tuberculosis when he was incarcerated for 27 years before the apartheid rule ended in 1994.

He was the first democratically-elected president in South Africa.

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