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Madiba 'responding well to treatment'

President Jacob Zuma has released an update on former president Nelson Mandela’s health.

Former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela wears a traditional mortar board while receiving two honourary doctorates at the Sydney University, 04 September 2000. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN/PRETORIA - President Jacob Zuma says Nelson Mandela is responding to treatment in hospital.

Madiba was admitted to a Pretoria facility in the early hours of Saturday morning with a recurring lung infection.

Zuma has told Members of Parliament (MPs) in Cape Town that he is happy with the progress being made by the 94-year-old former president after a difficult few days.

"I'm happy to report that Madiba is responding better to treatment from this morning. We are very happy with the progress that he is now making following a difficult few days."

Today marks the anniversary of Mandela's sentencing to life imprisonment.

Zuma says messages of support have flooded in from all over the world.

"On this crucial, historical anniversary our thoughts are with president Mandela and his family."

Meanwhile, Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela has just left the Pretoria Heart Hospital where the former president is spending a fifth day.

Mandla left the hospital a short while ago and was accompanied by two unidentified men.

Mandla travelled from the Eastern Cape overnight to be with his ailing grandfather.

In a statement released earlier, the Mandela family says it has been deeply touched by the outpouring of support and messages of goodwill from South Africans and the world.

The family also thanked the ANC for keeping the public updated about Madiba's health and progress in hospital.

He is currently with his aunt Zenani and Madiba's wife Graça Machel inside the Pretoria Heart Hospital.

However, it is unclear how many other visitors the statesman has received today. Security remains tight at the hospital as police continue to search cars entering at both gates.

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says he is "one of the greatest admirers" of fellow Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela and has pledged to perpetuate his ideals.

Madiba was admitted to a Pretoria facility in the early hours of Saturday morning with a recurring lung infection.

The Presidency says the former president remains in a stable but serious condition.

The Dalai Lama has told France Info Radio that anti-Apartheid icons like Mandela and Desmond Tutu are ageing and frail.

The Tibetan spiritual leader says "The important thing is to preserve Madiba's memory."

He has also recalled the first time he and Madiba met, almost two decades ago.

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