Hospitalised former statesman Nelson Mandela is “recuperating” after receiving treatment for a lung infection, South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday.
The anti-apartheid icon, who has been in hospital for six days, was recovering, said Zuma, ahead of the unveiling of a Mandela statue in the central city of Bloemfontein.
“Madiba is recuperating from a lung infection at a Pretoria hospital,” he said using Mandela's clan name.
“We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him yet again, of the love and support of many in the country and abroad.”
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told AFP “his condition continues to improve,” but he could not say when the statesman would be discharged.
Zuma paid tribute to his predecessor as “a man who became a symbol of both our struggle for freedom and the free and democratic South Africa.”
The president faces a challenge to his own leadership at the party's five-yearly elective conference next week in Bloemfontein, from Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.