Mandela 'breathing on his own': presidency spokesman

JOHANNESBURG Sat Jun 8, 2013 6:47am EDT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Nelson Mandela is able to breathe by himself after being admitted to hospital for a recurrent respiratory infection and that is a positive sign, a spokesman for South Africa's presidency said on Saturday.

The 94-year-old former South African president and anti-apartheid hero was admitted to hospital early on Saturday after battling the infection for a few days.

"What I am told by doctors is that he is breathing on his own and I think that is a positive sign," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said. "Madiba is a fighter and at his age, as long as he is fighting, he will be fine," Maharaj said, referring to Mandela by his clan name.

(Reporting by Shafiek Tassiem; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)