SA Prez says Mandela improving, but daughter says 'anything is imminent'

Jun 27, 2013, 19:06 IST | Agencies

Democracy icon Nelson Mandela was "very critical" and "anything is imminent", his eldest daughter said, even as South African President Jacob Zuma said that Mandela's health has improved.

"President Jacob Zuma visited former president Nelson Mandela in hospital in Pretoria today and was informed by the medical team that Madiba's condition has improved during the course of the night. He remains critical but is now stable," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said, reported Xinhua.

"I cancelled my visit to Mozambique today so that I could see him and confer with the doctors. He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job," Zuma was quoted as saying.

"We must pray for Tata's health and wish him well. We must also continue with our work and daily activities while Madiba remains hospitalised," Zuma said.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela; File Pic/AFP

The presidency is disturbed by the rumours that are being spread about Mandela's health, Maharaj said.

"We appeal for respect for the privacy and dignity of the former president," Maharaj said in a statement.

A member of Mandela's family reportedly confirmed that the former president was on life support, raising fears that the anti-apartheid icon might lose the struggle against his long-time illness -- lung infection.

"I re-iterate that Tata (father) is very critical that anything is imminent," Makaziwe Mandela said as the Mandela family gathered at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital to visit the peace icon who has been admitted since June 8.

"But I want to emphasise again that it's only God who knows when the time to go is and so we will wait with him, with Tata, as long for us as a family, he's still giving us hope opening his eyes he's still reactive to touch we will live with that hope until the final end comes," she said.

Traditional leader and African National Congress (ANC) MP Phathekile Holomisa said in remarks published by Eyewitness News earlier Thursday that the Mandela family are hoping for a "miracle" to help the much-loved former president.

"The Mandela family wish a miracle would happen that he recovers, but at the same time they are aware that there's a limit to the miracles you can have," said Holomisa, a longtime friend of Mandela.

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