Former South African President Thabo Mbeki has said that he believes Nelson Mandela will soon return home from the Pretoria hospital where he has been for the past five weeks.
“I am quite certain that one of these days Madiba (Mandela) will go back home,” he said at a memorial service in Pretoria on Saturday.
“One of these days the doctors will agree that he can go and stay at home rather than in hospital.”
PHOTOS FOR FULL GALLERY
Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, has said that the former South African president’s condition seems to be improving.
“He continues to respond positively to treatment. I would say that today I am less anxious than I was a week ago,” she said.
The anti-apartheid icon, 94, went into hospital on 8 June due to a recurring lung infection. Last week he was said to be responding to treatment but remaining in a critical but stable condition.
South Africa’s current President Jacob Zuma visited the statesman in hospital last Wednesday and was given the update by doctors.
“We are encouraged that Madiba (Mandela) is responding to treatment and urge the public to continue providing support and showering him with love which gives him and the family strength,” said President Zuma.
Well-wishers from far and wide continue to flock to the Pretoria hospital to leave messages of support for the great former leader.
Meanwhile, Mr Mandela’s large family have been engaged in a dramatic conflict about the family’s burial places.
Three graves of Mandela’s children – his eldest son Makgato, his first daughter Makaziwe who died as a child, and Mandela’s second son Thembekile – were exhumed following a controversial court case.
They were recently re-interred 15 miles away in Mandela’s home village of Qunu where he wishes to buried.