Zuma: Mandela’s Condition Improving

Posted December 20th, 2012 at 2:25 pm (UTC-5)
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South Africa's president says the health of Nelson Mandela is improving following gallstone surgery and treatment for a lung infection.

Jacob Zuma spoke at the close of a ruling ANC party conference Thursday. He said Mr. Mandela's condition was “serious” but added that he is “responding well to treatment and has steadily improved over the last few days.”

The anti-apartheid icon was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on December 8. The former South African president had surgery to remove gallstones on Saturday, a few days after doctors treated the lung problem.

Mr. Zuma praised Mr. Mandela as an “unparalleled fighter” who has met all his health challenges with fortitude and grace.

On Tuesday Mr. Zuma's office said the 94-year-old Mr. Mandela was making progress “consistent with his age.”

That statement said there is “no crisis” but that doctors do not want to send Mr. Mandela home “until they are satisfied that he has made sufficient progress.”

Mr. Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after spending 27 years in prison for his opposition to apartheid.

He has grown frail and has made few public appearances in recent years.