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Nelson Mandela's condition improves

  • South African President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday that Nelson Mandela's condition had improved though it remains critical.

    "He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night," Zuma said.

    Mandela, South Africa's first Black president, has been in hospital in Pretoria since June 8 with a lung infection.

    Zuma canceled a visit to Mozambique to visit the 94-year-old in hospital.

    Mandela's daughter Makaziwe added that he was "still there" and responding to touch. She also slammed journalists camped outside the hospital over the "intrusive" nature of coverage around her father’s state of health.

    Some reports have suggested that Mandela had suffered a cardiac arrest while other unconfirmed reports said he was now on life support.

    Mandela was elected as South Africa's first Black president in 1994 and stepped down from his post in 1999 after serving one term.

    The Nobel Peace Prize winner spent 27 years in jail for leading an anti-apartheid campaign.

    His lungs are said to have been damaged during the time he worked in a prison quarry.

    He has rarely appeared in public since 2004, when he retired from public life.