— Former South African President Nelson Mandela remained hospitalized for the third straight day Monday, as he battles health problems stemming from a lung infection.
Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized since 1:30 a.m. Saturday, when he was taken to a Pretoria hospital after doctors at his home felt he needed more critical care.
Mac Maharaj, spokesman for South African President Jacob Zuma, said Monday morning that Mandela remains in serious, but stable condition.
"Former President Nelson Mandela remains in hospital, and his condition is unchanged. He was admitted for treatment in a Pretoria hospital for a lung infection. And President Jacob Zuma calls upon all in South Africa and abroad to pray for Madiba and the family during this time," said Maharaj.
This is Mandela's fourth hospital admission since December. The Nobel Peace laureate has suffered from lung problems since he was diagnosed with tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment on Robben Island for fighting 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.
Monday morning, the South African newspaper The Star
reported that the Mandela family is limiting visitors to just family, barring South African political leaders.
Maharaj said those reports are untrue.
"Those reports are, have got an unnecessary twist to it and are incorrect," he said. "We will appreciate that any patient under treatment under the normal rules that apply when a patient is receiving intensive care, from the medical side there is a restriction put on the number of people who visit him and who visits him. That is all that is operative, the normal conditions that apply when a person is under intensive care. … from our side we are avoiding too many people visiting him. We are making sure that only those who are very close to him, who would help to create a conducive atmosphere/environment for him to recover maximally, to be able to go to him."
Mandela was visited by President Zuma and other members of the African National Congress party in April. In video of that visit, Mandela looked frail and unresponsive.
Andrew Mlangeni, a friend of Mr. Mandela's who was imprisoned with him on Robben Island, told South Africa's Sunday Times
newspaper that it is "time to let him go," and that the family should release him.
Mandela, who is to turn 95 next month, was visited by family Sunday and Monday morning.