Johannesburg: Nelson Mandela was in a "serious but stable" condition as the 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon and former South African President continued to receive hospital treatment for a third day for a recurrent lung infection, the government said on Monday.
"Former President Nelson Mandela remains in hospital, and his condition is unchanged," the presidency said in a brief statement on the health of the revered Nobel laureate.
"President Jacob Zuma reiterates his call for South Africa to pray for Madiba (Mandela's clan name) and the family during this time," the government said on Monday. Mandela was shifted to a Pretoria hospital in the early hours on Saturday, the fourth time since December he has been admitted. The President's office had said on Saturday that Mandela was in a "serious but stable condition."
In April, doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and drained fluid from his chest. South Africans offered prayers at church services on Sunday for the ailing leader, who will turn 95 next month. Hundreds of worshippers attended Mass at Soweto's Regina Mundi church, famous for its role in the anti-apartheid campaign.
Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, cancelled a scheduled appearance in London on Saturday to remain at her husband's bedside. On Monday, members of Mandela's family were seen visiting the hospital where the Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is believed to be staying.
"I've seen my father and he's well. He's a fighter," one of Mandela's daughters Zindzi was quoted as saying by the Guardian newspaper here. Mandela served as president from 1994 to 1999.
He was previously imprisoned for 27 years, and is believed to have suffered damaged lungs while working in a prison quarry. He contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while being held in jail on the windswept Robben Island.
Though Mandela retired from public life in 2004 and has been rarely seen in public since 2010, he remains a towering symbol in South African public life.