JOHANNESBURG Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who has been receiving medical treatment for three months for a lung ailment, is still in hospital in Pretoria in a critical but stable condition, the government said on Saturday.
The presidency said reports by some international media that the revered anti-apartheid leader, who is 95, had been discharged and returned to his home were "incorrect".
"Madiba is still in hospital in Pretoria, and remains in a critical but stable condition," the presidency said in a statement, using the traditional clan name by which Mandela is affectionately known in South Africa.
"At times his condition becomes unstable, but he responds to medical interventions," it added, repeating a medical bulletin it had issued a week ago which had said the ailing Nobel Peace Prize laureate was showing "great resilience".
News of Mandela's hospitalisation in June with a recurring lung infection attracted worldwide attention for the revered statesman, who is admired as a symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation.
Mandela celebrated his 95th birthday in hospital on July 18, showered with tributes from around the world.
He spent nearly three decades in prison before being released and being elected South Africa's first black president in multi-racial elections in 1994 that ended apartheid rule.
Mandela's 27 years in prison under white minority rule included 18 years on the notorious Robben Island penal colony. His lung infection dates back to this time, when he and other prisoners were forced to work in a limestone quarry.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz, Peroshni Govender and Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)