Eyewitness News reported on Sunday that Thabo Mbeki was speaking at a memorial service on Saturday when he predicted that Mandela would be going home.
Mandela has been hospitalised for more than five weeks for a recurring lung infection, sparking an outpouring of support in South Africa and internationally. Friends who have visited him say he is on life support in the form of mechanical ventilation. The most recent official update on his health said Mandela was in critical but stable condition.
The anti-apartheid hero spent 27 years in prison before becoming South Africa's first black president in 1994. He turns 95 on Thursday.