Mandela making progress with treatment-doctors say

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Special reporter

JOHANNESBURG — Doctors treating former South African President, Nelson Mandela, say they are satisfied with his response to treatment for a recurring lung infection.  The presidency made the announcement Wednesday but officials would not say when the aging former leader might be able to return home.

After five days of worry and speculation over Nelson Mandela’s condition, doctors are reporting positive progress in the last 24 hours.

The anti-apartheid icon is being treated in a Pretoria military hospital for a lung infection. He has now spent four nights in the hospital.

Presidential spokesman, Mac Maharaj, gave few details beyond the government’s Wednesday statement.  He would not say when Mandela might leave the hospital.

“That is a premature question, it’s a matter in the hands of the doctors,” he said. “They would be monitoring it, but I don’t think that they are preoccupied with the discharge. They would be preoccupied with progress being made relative to the treatment that he’s receiving.”

Mandela was previously admitted to a Johannesburg hospital in January 2011 for an acute respiratory infection. He tested positive for tuberculosis in 1988, during his 27-year imprisonment under the apartheid government.

Maharaj also did not answer questions about Mandela’s state of mind.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with former South Africa President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel at his home in Qunu, South Africa, Aug. 6, 2012.

Mandela has made increasingly few public appearances in the last few years. He retired from public life in 2004.

He became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 in the nation’s first multiracial elections ending white minority rule. He was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to bring an end to apartheid.

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