"Former President Nelson Mandela still remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Pretoria, and continues to show improvement," the Presidency said in a statement.

"President Jacob Zuma has urged the public to continue praying for Madiba (Mandela's clan name) and he thanks those who partake in community work to take forward the good work of Madiba," it said.

The statement also called for support from the business community to establish the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital project.

Mandela, South Africa's first black president, is regarded the founding father of the country's multi-racial democracy.     He has a long history of lung problems, dating back to the time when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island during apartheid. While in jail he contracted tuberculosis.

Mandela is revered for leading the fight against white minority rule in the African country and then preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years.

He served as the country's President from 1994 to 1999.

(Agencies)

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