Mandela family 'appreciates' SA's support

Nelson Mandela is seen with his family in Qunu in Eastern Cape on 18 June 2011. Picture: Peter Morey/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said the Mandela family was highly appreciative of the support South Africans had shown since Madiba's hospitalisation.

Zuma also thanked the country for keeping Madiba in their prayers.

“President Zuma, indeed after his visit, expressed his thanks to fellow South Africans for praying for former president Mandela,” Presidency spokesman Harold Maloka said.

Zuma visited the 94-year-old statesman yesterday, who remains at a Pretoria hospital where he is receiving treatment for a lung infection.

He also underwent surgery to remove gallstones last week.

Mandela was admitted to hospital on 8 December and it is currently unknown when he will be discharged.

Maloka said Madiba’s doctors were happy with his progress.

Family members celebrated Christmas Day with uTata at the hospital.

As South Africa’s first democratic president, Mandela played a key role in negotiating freedom for all South Africans and his humanitarian efforts have gained him worldwide status.