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Thursday
Jun272013

Jacob Zuma Cancels Trip as Mandela Remains in Critical Condition

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- South African President Jacob Zuma canceled his travel plans on Thursday as word came that former South African President Nelson Mandela's health has taken a turn for the worse. A presidential spokesman said on Thursday that Mandela's health has deteriorated in the past 48 hours.

However, after visiting Mandela in the hospital later that day, Zuma said the Nobel Peace Prize winner's condition had improved overnight.

"I cancelled my visit to Mozambique today so that I could see him and confer with the doctors.  He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night.  The medical team continues to do a sterling job," Zuma said in a statement.

Zuma, who will be responsible for addressing the nation when Mandela dies, was scheduled to travel to Mozambique.

Mandela, 94, has been in a hospital in Pretoria since June 8 for a recurring lung infection.

On Thursday, the civil rights leader's granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela, told reporters gathered outside the hospital that he remains in critical but stable condition.

"We are quite anxious but we thank everybody for their support," she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio