Former South African president Nelson Mandela is responding well to treatment and "looking much better", according to President Jacob Zuma.

Mandela was visited in the hospital by the incumbent president on Tuesday. Zuma said that doctors were happy with the progress he has been making over the past two weeks.

"We found him in good spirits," said Zuma. "He was happy to have visitors on this special day and is looking much better."

The Mandela family also visited the former leader on Christmas Day.

South Africans offered prayers for Mandela's health at Christmas masses held across the country on Monday night.

Mandela was hospitalised on December 8 and treated for lung infection. He also underwent gallstone surgery.

The 94-year-old Nobel Peace laureate remains in One Military Hospital near the South African capital, Pretoria.

Source: Agencies