Mandela in hospital for a sixth day

Former president contracted tuberculosis during 27-year prison term

Well-wishers have been leaving goodwill messages written on stones and placed inside planters outside of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela's residence in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Well-wishers have been leaving goodwill messages written on stones and placed inside planters outside of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela's residence in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

 

Former South African president Nelson Mandela is in hospital for a sixth day as he recovers from pneumonia.

The government is expected to give an update from his doctors later today, Mr Mac Maharaj, a spokesman for president Jacob Zuma, said in a phone interview.

Mr Mandela's family visited him yesterday after his condition improved over the weekend, Mr Maharaj said.

Mr Mandela (94) was admitted to hospital before midnight on March 27th to treat pneumonia, and doctors performed a procedure to drain his lungs of liquid during the weekend.

"President Nelson Mandela had a restful day and continues to receive treatment," the government said in a statement released on Sunday.

"The doctors are providing the former president with the best medical care possible to enable his recovery and comfort. They have reported a further improvement in his condition."

On Saturday, the government gave more details about Mr Mandela's health, saying he "had developed a pleural effusion," or a fluid buildup in the lungs, that was addressed. "This has resulted in him now being able to breathe without difficulty," it said.

The nation's first black president has been hospitalised three times since December, including a scheduled check-up last month.

Mr Mandela served as president for five years after the African National Congress in 1994 won the first elections since the end of all-white, minority rule.

He spent 27 years in prison, most of it on Robben Island where he contracted tuberculosis, for his opposition to apartheid.

Agencies