JOHANNESBURG — Doctors treating former South African President, Nelson Mandela, say they are satisfied with his response to treatment for a recurring lung infection. The presidency made the announcement Wednesday but officials would not say when the aging former leader might be able to return home.
After five days of worry and speculation over Nelson Mandela’s condition, doctors are reporting positive progress in the last 24 hours.
The anti-aparthied icon is being treated in a Pretoria military hospital for a lung infection. He has now spent four nights in the hospital.
Presidential spokesman, Mac Maharaj, gave few details beyond the government’s Wednesday statement. He would not say when Mandela might leave the hospital.
"That is a premature question, it’s a matter in the hands of the doctors," he said. "They would be monitoring it, but I don’t think that they are preoccupied with the discharge. They would be preoccupied with progress being made relative to the treatment that he’s receiving."
Mandela was previously admitted to a Johannesburg hospital in January 2011 for an acute respiratory infection. He tested positive for tuberculosis in 1988, during his 27-year imprisonment under the apartheid government.
Maharaj also did not answer questions about Mandela’s state of mind.
Mandela has made increasingly few public appearances in the last few years. He retired from public life in 2004.
He became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 in the nation's first multiracial elections ending white minority rule. He was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to bring an end to apartheid.
Nelson Mandela smiles for photographers at his home in Johannesburg September 22, 2005.
Nelson Mandela and his then wife, Winnie, salute well-wishers as he leaves Victor Verster prison on Feb. 11, 1990.
This undated photograph shows Nelson Mandela and his former wife, Winnie.
South African State President Frederik Willem de Klerk and Deputy President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela prior to talks, Cape Town, May 2, 1990.
Nelson Mandela, is seen as he gives the black power salute to 120,000 ANC supporters in Soweto's Soccer City stadium, Feb. 13, 1990.
Then-African National Congress President Nelson Mandela salutes the crowd in Galeshewe Stadium near Kimberley, South Africa, Feb. 25, 1994.
Nelson Mandela and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ride in a carriage outside Buckingham Palace on the first day of a state visit to Britain, July 9, 1996.
President Nelson Mandela and Britain's Prince Charles shake hands alongside members of the Spice Girls, Nov. 1, 1997.
Former U.S President Bill Clinton and former South African President Nelson Mandela speak during a Gala night in Westminster Hall, London, July 2, 2003.
Oscar winning South African actress Charlize Theron weeps at her meeting with former South African President Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, March 11,2004.
Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, wave to the audience during a Live 8 concert in Johannesburg, July 2, 2005.
Nelson Mandela jokes with youngsters as they celebrate his 89th birthday at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Johannesburg, July 24, 2007.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela, center, followed by his grandson Mandla Mandela, rear right, arrives at the ceremony in Mvezo, South Africa, April 16, 2007.
Nelson Mandela waves to the media as he arrives outside 10 Downing Street, London, August 28, 2007.
Nelson Mandela waves as he arrives to attend the 2010 World Cup football final Netherlands vs. Spain on July 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto.
Nelson Mandela poses for a photograph after receiving a torch to celebrate the African National Congress' centenary in his home village Qunu, May 30, 2012.