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Mandela Responding to Treatment

  • VOA News

Former President Nelson Mandela smiles as he formally announces his retirement from public life in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 1, 2004.

Former President Nelson Mandela smiles as he formally announces his retirement from public life in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 1, 2004.

South Africa's president said Nelson Mandela is "responding better to treatment" as he remains hospitalized for a lung infection.

The statement from President Jacob Zuma was the first hopeful update about Mr. Mandela's health since he was taken to a Pretoria hospital on Saturday.

"I'm happy to report that Madiba is responding better to treatment from this morning. We are very happy with the progress that he is now making following a difficult few days," Zuma said.

Mr. Mandela was said to be in serious but stable condition earlier in the day. A presidential spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said Mr. Zuma planned to visit the anti-apartheid icon soon.

On the streets in Pretoria on Wednesday, people like Marnus Ruas continued to offer messages of support for the 94-year-old Nobel Peace laureate.

"We wish he gets better pretty soon and gets back on his feet and do what he is doing well, loving the people," he said.

Richard Rakgoale also wished Mr. Mandela a speedy recovery, saying, "I wish he can recover very soon. We need him, South Africa needs him."

On Tuesday, Maharaj cited patient-doctor privacy and declined to say if Mr. Mandela was breathing on his own, conscious or speaking.

This is the fourth time Mr. Mandela has been hospitalized for lung infections since December. He has been vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment under South Africa's apartheid system.

Mr. Mandela was released in 1990 and went on to serve as president after his African National Congress party won South Africa's first democratic election in 1994.
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