Presidency: Mandela steadily improving
18 July 2013, 10:27
Johannesburg - The health of former president Nelson Mandela, who turns 95 on Thursday, is "steadily improving", the presidency said.
"Madiba remains in hospital in Pretoria, but his doctors have confirmed that his health is steadily improving," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
Mandela was admitted into a Pretoria hospital on 8 June with a recurrent lung infection.
Until now, his condition has been described as critical but stable.
President Jacob Zuma said: "On behalf of government and all the people of South Africa, we wish Madiba a joyous 95th birthday.
"We are proud to call this international icon our own as South Africans and wish him good health."
In 2009, 18 July was declared as Mandela Day to honour the former statesman, with people encouraged to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to nation-building and charity in recognition of his service towards securing democracy and restoring human dignity.
"We thank all our people for supporting Madiba throughout the hospitalisation with undying love and compassion," said Zuma.
"We also thank all for responding to the call to give Madiba the biggest birthday celebration ever this year."