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The South African government has said that Nelson Mandela’s health is continuing to improve. The former president, 94, is being treated for pneumonia in a Pretoria hospital.

On the evening of March 31, Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said: “Former President Nelson Mandela had a restful day and continues to receive treatment.”

Maharaj continued, “The government is satisfied that the doctors are providing the former president with the best possible medical care to enable Madiba to recover.”

Mandela was hospitalised on March 27 – his third spell in hospital in four months.

In Pretoria, local man Mesheni Samuel said: “We still need him more and we still need for of him to handle us in this country. And we pray that God should be with him.”

The government has given no information on when Mandela might leave hospital and return home.

Near Mandela’s house in Johannesburg, one resident said: “I would like to say thank you to him for all the things he has given up for our country. We are very, very, grateful for all the things he has done for us.”

Over the Easter weekend, churches across South Africa held prayers for Mandela – who is revered at home and abroad for leading the struggle against the country’s white minority rule.

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