Nelson Mandela is said to be showing great resilience in hospital though his condition becomes unstable at times.
The 95-year-old South African former leader is “still critical but stable”, according to a statement from President Jacob Zuma’s office.
Nelson Mandela remains in hospital in Pretoria two-and-a-half months after being admitted with a recurring lung infection.
The statement largely squares with comments from members of his family.
However, Saturday’s statement does provide some fresh insight into the precariousness of the health of the global icon and the reserves he still appears able to call upon.
The statement said doctors were still working hard to bring about a turnaround in his health and, as a result of medical interventions, Nelson Mandela’s condition tended to stabilize.
President Jacob Zuma, who is travelling to Malaysia on an official visit, urged the country to continue praying for Nelson Mandela and to keep him in their thoughts at all times.
Nelson Mandela, who stepped down as the country’s first black president in 1999, entered hospital on June 8.
The anti-apartheid activist’s lung infection is believed to date back to the period of nearly three decades he spent in prison, for his activities in the African National Congress.
People from South Africa and around the world have sent Nelson Mandela their best wishes, and flowers and other tributes have collected outside Pretoria’s Medi Clinic Heart Hospital.