'Madiba gaining strength'

Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandson visited the ailing former statesman over the weekend.

FILE: Nelson Mandela reads an advanced copy of his book 'Nelson Mandela by Himself' at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on 17 June 2011. Picture: Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Former President Nelson Mandela's grandson, Mandla, on Monday said the ailing 95-year-old is gaining strength every day.

Mandla issued a statement after visiting Madiba over the weekend.

The former statesman was admitted to the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria 44 days ago, where he continues to receive treatment for a recurring lung infection.

Mandla said the improvement in Madiba's health is heartening because it defies reports that he is in a vegetative state and will have his life support machines switched off.

Mandla along with Madiba's daughter Zenani visited the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate at the health facility on Sunday.

Mandla said his grandfather continues to prove he has a fighting spirit.

Meanwhile, the Presidency has maintained that Madiba remains in a critical but stable condition.

Last week it said he was responding to treatment.

Mandla recently made headlines when 16 members of his family took him to court to have the remains of three relatives reburied in Qunu after he'd moved them to Mvezo.

While Mevezo is where Madiba was born, Qunu is where he grew up.