Nelson Mandela condition improving in hospital

Sunday 31 March 2013 22.48
Nelson Mandela has been in hospital since Wednesday last
Nelson Mandela has been in hospital since Wednesday last

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has had a restful day in hospital and is improving following treatment for a recurrence of pneumonia, the government there said.

The office of President Jacob Zuma thanked South Africans who prayed for 94-year-old Mr Mandela at Easter church services this weekend, as well as people at home and around the world who showed their "love and support in various ways" for the anti-apartheid leader and his family.

"We also thank foreign governments for their messages of support," Mr Zuma's office said in a statement.

The government "is satisfied that the doctors are providing the former president with the best medical care possible to enable his recovery and comfort. They have reported a further improvement in his condition," the statement said.

Mr Mandela was admitted to a Pretoria hospital near midnight Wednesday.

It was his third trip to a hospital since December, when he was treated for a lung infection and also had a procedure to remove gallstones.

Earlier in March, he spent a night in a hospital for what officials said was a scheduled medical test.

Yesterday, Mr Zuma's office reported that Mandela was breathing without difficulty after having a procedure to clear fluid in his lung area.

Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after elections were held, bringing an end to the system of white racist rule known as apartheid.

After his release from prison in 1990, Mr Mandela was widely credited with averting even greater bloodshed by helping the country in the transition to democratic rule.

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