Mar. 30 - South Africa's Nelson Mandela is comfortable and responding to treatment, according to a government spokesman. Rough cut - no reporter narration.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is comfortable and able to breathe without problems as he continues to respond to treatment after spending a third night in hospital for a lung infection, according to government spokesman Mac Maharaj. "Doctors advised that Madiba had developed a pleural effusion which has since been tapped and this has now resulted in his being able to breath without difficulty. Madiba continues to respond to treatment and is comfortable," he said. Mandela was in hospital briefly earlier this month for a check-up and spent nearly three weeks in hospital in December with a lung infection and after surgery to remove gallstones. That was his longest stay in hospital since his release from prison in 1990, after serving almost three decades for conspiring to overthrow the apartheid government. Mandela has a history of lung problems dating back to when he contracted tuberculosis as a political prisoner. Global figures such as U.S. President Barack Obama have sent get well messages and South Africans have included Mandela in their prayers on the Easter weekend, one of the most important dates of the Christian calendar.