South Africa says former president Nelson Mandela remains in serious but stable condition at a Pretoria hospital.
A government statement Tuesday said President Jacob Zuma has been briefed by the medical team treating Mandela and is satisfied it is doing its best to make him better.
The anti-apartheid icon, who is 94, was hospitalized Saturday for a lung infection, the fourth time that ailment has put him in the hospital since December.
At a Tuesday briefing, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj declined to say if Mandela was breathing on his own, conscious or speaking.
"Those details the doctors have provided on a confidential basis to the president. We must bear in mind that there are a whole lot of aspects - that while all of us are interested in the health of former President Mandela, there are aspects that affect patient-doctor privacy," he said.
A friend of the elder leader, Andrew Mlangeni, told the Sunday Times newspaper that the internationally admired statesman may not be well again, and he urged family members to "release him."
Mlangeni said "Once the family releases him, the people of South Africa will follow."
Mandela has been vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment under South Africa's apartheid system.
He 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.