Mandela’s Condition Still Serious as Zuma Makes Visit

South African President Jacob Zuma yesterday visited Nelson Mandela in a Pretoria hospital, where he’s still in a serious condition for a seventh day.

Zuma was accompanied by Zweli Mkhize, treasurer-general of the ruling African National Congress, the president’s office said in an e-mailed statement.

“Madiba’s health continues to improve, but his condition remains serious,” Zuma said in the statement, referring to Mandela by his clan name. “We continue to appeal to people to keep Madiba in their prayers and wish him a speedy recovery.”

Mandela, 94, was admitted to the intensive care unit on June 8 for treatment relating to a recurring lung infection, with visitors limited to family members only. It’s his fourth stay in the hospital since December, after he was treated for pneumonia in April and had gall stones removed.

Mandela was elected to office in 1994 and stepped down after a five-year term as president. He spent 27 years in prison, mostly on Robben Island, for opposing white-minority rule under apartheid.

The ANC said in an e-mailed statement it was “encouraged” by Zuma’s comments.

“We are grateful to the president and the treasurer-general for visiting our beloved statesman on behalf of the people of South Africa and the world,” the party said.

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