South Africa's Mandela has "steadily improved": Zuma

JOHANNESBURG Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:43pm EST

Former South African president Nelson Mandela looks on as he celebrates his birthday at his house in Qunu, Eastern Cape July 18, 2012. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Former South African president Nelson Mandela looks on as he celebrates his birthday at his house in Qunu, Eastern Cape July 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Nelson Mandela, the 94-year-old former South African leader who has spent nearly two weeks in hospital, is steadily improving and responding well to treatment, current President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

"His condition was serious, but he is responding well to treatment, and has steadily improved over the last few days," Zuma said at the close of a week-long leadership conference of the ruling African National Congress.

The country's first black president was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on December 8 after being flown from his home village of Qunu in a remote part of the Eastern Cape province.

He was treated initially for a recurrent lung infection and then had a successful procedure to have gallstones removed.

(Reporting by David Dolan; editing by Pascal Fletcher)

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