x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Mandela's condition continues to improve

Nelson Mandela's condition continues to improve, the South African government says, six weeks after he was admitted to hospital with a recurring lung infection.

JOHANNESBURG // Nelson Mandela's condition continues to improve, the South African government said yesterday, six weeks after he was admitted to hospital with a recurring lung infection.

"Former president Mandela is still in a critical condition in hospital but shows sustained improvement," president Jacob Zuma's office said.

The presidency also thanked South Africans and the world for the outpouring of support that marked Mr Mandela's 95th birthday last week.

"The birthday celebrations for the former president [attracted]scores of South Africans who engaged in community service in honour of Madiba," the presidency said, using Mr Mandela's clan name.

Also yesterday, Mandla Mandela reported that his grandfather was "steadily improving".

Mandla, who is embroiled in a bitter spat with family members over his grandfather's burial site, visited Mr Mandela on Sunday.

"The visit left me with a warm feeling because my grandfather is getting stronger and stronger every day," he said.

Mandla also issued a thinly veiled rebuke to his relatives after lawyers representing them had claimed that the Nobel Peace Prize winner was in a "vegetative state". Mandla said his grandfather's recovery flew "in the face of those who have been busy spreading lies that Madiba is in a 'vegetative state' and just waiting for his support machines to be switched off," he said.

Mr Mandela's current hospital stay is his longest since he was released from prison in 1990.