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Mbeki Says Mandela Health Improving

  • VOA News

Former South African President Nelson Mandela (file photo)
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki says Nelson Mandela's health is improving as he fights a recurrent lung infection.

Mbeki told a local radio station that he is in close contact with Mandela's family as well as his doctors.

"I maintain very close contact with the family and the doctors about Nelson Mandela's condition, and I think we, we need to understand what has been said publicly by the government, which is Nelson Mandela is in fact improving in terms of his health. I don't think anybody should kind of entertain some wrong notion that Nelson Mandela is about to die tomorrow. He's not going to," said Mbeki.

Mbeki succeeded Mandela as president of South Africa in 1999.

South Africa's government has described Mandela's condition as serious but stable, but has said that his doctors are seeing sustained improvements.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon has been in the hospital for two weeks, his fourth hospitalization for his lung problems since December.

Mandela has a history of lung problems dating back to the tuberculosis he contracted during his 27-year imprisonment under South Africa's apartheid system. He was released in 1990, and four years later was elected president in the country's first democratic polls.