Mandela 'responds to treatment' after 'difficult few days'

President Nelson Mandela was "responding better" to treatment. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Former South African President Nelson Mandela was "responding better" to treatment in hospital today after a "difficult few days."

Jacob Zuma, the country's current President, updated parliament on the condition of the 94-year-old, who has been in a Pretoria hospital for five days after suffering a recurrence of a lung infection.

We are very happy with the progress that he is now making.

We urge South Africans and the international community to continue to keep President Mandela and the medical team in their thoughts and prayers.

– Jacob Zuma, South African President

ITV News Africa Correspondent Rohit Kachroo reports from Pretoria:

Madiba, as he is affectionately called in South Africa, was visited today by family and his ex-wife Winnie.

Winnie Mandela has visited her ex-husband in hospital. Credit: RTV

The 94-year-old's eldest grandson Mandla thanked doctors, politicians and well-wishers who have supported the family during the former President's illness.

We are particularly honoured to have received the many prayers and messages from South Africans at large as well as the global community.

– Mandla Mandela

It was 49 years to the day since Mandela was sentenced for sabotage and conspiring to overthrow the white-minority government.

South Africa's first black leader has a history of lung problems dating back to his time in the Robben Island prison camp near Cape Town.

He was released in 1990 and went on to serve as president from 1994 to 1999.