South African President Jacob Zuma has repeated a call for the nation to pray for former leader Nelson Mandela. The anti-Apartheid hero remained hospitalized and was being treated for a recurring lung infection.
A statement released by President Zuma's office on Monday said Mandela's condition was “unchanged” from the weekend, when his condition was described as "serious but stable."
A presidential spokesman also said he was receiving "intensive care treatment."
The former president has been in a Pretoria hospital since being rushed there in the early hours of Saturday.
This is the fourth time that Mandela, 94, has had to be hospitalized since last December, something that has led to growing concerns about that anti-Apartheid leader's health.
Mandela has had a history of respiratory problems since he contracted tuberculosis during his decades spent in prison – most of which were at the wind-swept Robben Island prison camp off the coast of Cape Town.
During his last stay in the hospital, which ended in early April of this year, doctors drained fluid, which had gathered in his chest after he caught pneumonia.
Since Mandela was admitted to the hospital on Saturday, only close relatives have been allowed to visit him. However, President Zuma's party, the African National Congress, denied that the family had barred senior politicians from visiting the former president.
"What we know is that given the pressure associated with the admission of President Mandela, there are general restrictions that permit only relevant people to have access," a statement released by the party said. "As the ANC, we have deferred this responsibility to President Zuma to liaise with the family and the hospital."
In 1994, Mandela became South Africa's first black president, having won the country's first fully multi-racial election. He served just one term in office, stepping down in 1999. He had been released from prison in 1990 after having spent 27 years behind bars after being convicted of conspiracy to overthrow South Africa's Apartheid government.
pfd/dr (AP, Reuters, AFP)