Nelson Mandela’s progress encouraging – Zuma

2013-07-18 14:49

The improvement in former president Nelson Mandela’s health is encouraging, President Jacob Zuma has said.

“He continues to respond positively to treatment and we are encouraged by that progress being made,” Zuma said today at the sixth South Africa-European Union Summit in Pretoria.

“When I visited him today, I found him really stable and I was able to say ‘happy birthday’ and he was able to smile.”

Zuma said South Africa felt “greatly honoured” when the UN declared July 18 International Nelson Mandela Day.

“We are truly happy to share this special occasion with you. Mandela’s struggle for freedom and justice in our country and his values of promoting a fair, just and equitable world continues to inspire and motivate us,” he told the visiting EU delegation.

Zuma arrived at the Medic-Clinic Heart Hospital’s Park Street entrance and walked through the parking lot to the Celliers Street entrance, greeting a few people along the way.

Former president Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa were among the visitors.

A military brass band played Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika three times and throngs of well-wishers enthusiastically sang along.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement earlier that Mandela’s health was steadily improving.

today marked Mandela’s 41st day in the hospital, where he was being treated for a recurring lung infection.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was also at the hospital, and had a birthday card for Mandela.

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