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Grandson says Mandela 'getting better'

Former South African president and anti-apartheid icon expected to be discharged from hospital soon, grandson says.

Last Modified: 22 Jun 2013 12:17
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Mandela's grandson said his grandfather was getting better and was expected to be discharged soon [AFP]

Fomer South African president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is getting better and is expected to be discharged from hospital soon, his grandson Mandla Mandela has said.

Mandla's remarks about Mandela, who is battling a serious recurrent lung infection, came after Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela as president in 1999, said on Thursday that the 94-year-old Nobel laureate was not going to "die tomorrow".

Despite both men's comments, Mac Maharaj, spokesman of Jacob Zuma, the South African president, said in a statement on Saturday that Mandela remained in a "serious but stable" condition and that his health was little changed since his admission to a Pretoria hospital two weeks ago.

The government also said the health of Mandela, South Africa's first black president, had not been endangered when the ambulance that rushed him to hospital earlier this month broke down and another had to be called.

"All care was taken to ensure that the former president's medical condition was not compromised by the unforeseen incident," Maharaj told the AFP news agency.

The ambulance had engine trouble on its way from Mandela's Johannesburg home to a specialist heart clinic in Pretoria, about 55km away

Doctors are "satisfied" that Mandela suffered no harm during the wait for a replacement ambulance, Maharaj said.

He said the "fully equipped ICU (intensive care unit) ambulance" had a "full complement including intensive care specialists and ICU nurses".

Mandela, who was jailed for 27 years for resisting white minority rule, was taken to hospital in the early hours of June 8.

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