Cape Town, June 27 (IANS) Former South African president Nelson Mandela's health has improved but he remains in a critical condition, the Presidency said Thursday.
"President Jacob Zuma visited former president Nelson Mandela in hospital in Pretoria today (Thursday), June 27, and was informed by the medical team that Madiba's condition has improved during the course of the night. He remains critical but is now stable," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said, reported Xinhua.
"I cancelled my visit to Mozambique today (Thursday) so that I could see him and confer with the doctors. He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job," Zuma was quoted as saying.
"We must pray for Tata's health and wish him well. We must also continue with our work and daily activities while Madiba remains hospitalized," Zuma said.
The presidency is disturbed by the rumours that are being spread about Mandela's health, Maharaj said.
"We appeal for respect for the privacy and dignity of the former president," Maharaj said in a statement.
A member of Mandela's family reportedly confirmed that the former president was on life support, raising fears that the anti-apartheid icon might lose the struggle against his long-time illness -- lung infection.
Traditional leader and African National Congress (ANC) MP Phathekile Holomisa said in remarks published by Eyewitness News earlier Thursday that the Mandela family are hoping for a "miracle" to help the much-loved former president.
"The Mandela family wish a miracle would happen that he recovers, but at the same time they are aware that there's a limit to the miracles you can have," said Holomisa, a longtime friend of Mandela.
Mandela, who was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on June 8, has been in critical condition since Sunday.