GET WELL: Messages of support for former president Nelson Mandela continued to be received at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Tuesday. Picture: GCIS
GET WELL: Messages of support for former president Nelson Mandela continued to be received at the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Tuesday. Picture: GCIS

FORMER president Nelson Mandela remained critical but stable at the Pretoria Mediclinic Heart Hospital, the Presidency said on Thursday.

President Jacob Zuma visited to check on the condition of Mr Mandela on Thursday afternoon. "Madiba is receiving the best medical care from a multidisciplinary team of health professionals who are at his bedside around the clock," he said.

Mr Mandela is in his fourth week of treatment for a recurring lung infection.

It has emerged, through an affidavit filed by members of the Mandela family in a court case over where his three children should be buried, that Mr Mandela’s breathing is being assisted.

Mr Zuma on Thursday called for South Africans to volunteer 67 minutes of their time on July 18, Mr Mandela’s 95th birthday and Nelson Mandela Day, to change their communities for the better.

Mr Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel, on Thursday thanked the public for the "outpouring and humbling demonstration of love, the care and the support of hope" given to the elder statesman.

Ms Machel was speaking at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg, where ministers and members of the sporting fraternity delivered a pledge and messages of support for Mr Mandela.

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, and Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula were among the dignitaries.

Earlier, Mr Mbalula launched the Nelson Mandela Sports Day in Sandton.

Ms Machel said: "Although Madiba sometimes may be uncomfortable, a very few times he is in pain, but he is fine.

"The best gift which he has given to this nation again is unity. At the beginning he offered South Africa the gift of reconciliation, of bringing together all people of all races and of all ages to rally around a dream of a South Africa which belongs to all," she said.

With Sapa