Nelson Mandela. File photo: Reuters

Johannesburg -

The military veterans department wished former president Nelson Mandela a speedy recovery on Wednesday.

“Our prayers as the department of military veterans and indeed the entire military veterans community of South Africa are with Madiba, wishing him a speedy recovery,” said the department's director-general Tshepe Motumi in a statement.

Motumi said Mandela was a military veteran who had continued “to make an invaluable contribution to reconciliation, freedom, democracy and nation building”.

He called Mandela an inspiration to military veterans around the world.

Mandela was hospitalised over the weekend. He was flown from his home in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Saturday to a Pretoria facility.

The presidency said on Wednesday that the 94-year-old Mandela was suffering from the recurrence of a previous lung infection and was responding to treatment.

Journalists from local and international media stayed put at Pretoria's 1 Military Hospital on Wednesday morning as the former president spent a fifth day at the tightly secured facility for treatment. - Sapa