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Zuma says Nelson Mandela is ‘responding better to treatment'

HOSPITALISED: Nelson Mandela (PA)

SOUTH AFRICA’S president Jacob Zuma has said Nelson Mandela is “responding better” to hospital treatment.

The country’s first black president has now been in hospital for five days after developing serious breathing difficulties – a recurrent problem he has had with a lung infection.

The 94-year-old, who was South Africa’s leader between 1994 and 1999, is in a Pretoria hospital, and has received visits from family and friends.

Commenting on the legacy of Mandela, Zuma recently said: “Our country is a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994, even though we still have so much work to do."

Zuma mentioned that Wednesday was the 49th anniversary of Mr Mandela's being sentenced to life in prison under the apartheid regime.

He added: "We fully understand and appreciate the global interest in this world icon. We are so proud to call him our own. We urge South Africans and the international community to continue to keep President Mandela and the medical team in their thoughts and prayers.”

The ANC leader added that doctors were doing a “very good job” for Mandela, who he described as a “good fighter”.

Mandela, known widely in the country as Madiba, was imprisoned for 27 years on Robben Island by the apartheid regime.

It is there, while doing hard labour in a quarry, he is thought to have developed lung problems after contracting tuberculosis.

The family released a statement today saying they had "been deeply touched" by the concern shown for Mr Mandela's health.

Mandela's grandson, Mandla, said: "We are grateful that my grandfather has continued to have support from the presidency....we also want to thank the doctors who have worked around the clock to ensure that hey look after him while he is in hospital.

"We are honoured and appreciate all the support you have shown towards my grandfather, he is the father of the nation and embraced by the entire community.”

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