South Africa's ailing anti-apartheid hero and former President Nelson Mandela nears a month in a local hospital amid concerns on his condition.

There was no official update on Saturday on his condition since the government described it as "critical but stable" last Thursday.

The government has also denied media reports that Mandela was in a vegetative state.

The 94-year-old is receiving treatment since June 8 for a recurring lung infection, in his fourth stay in hospital in six months.

Mandela was South Africa's first black president before he stepped down in 1999 after serving a five-year term. He is globally hailed for promoting peace with his former oppressors and fostering racial reconciliation.

Source: Agencies