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Nelson Mandela's Health Is Improving, Successor Says

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela remains hospitalized nearly two weeks after being admitted with a recurring lung infection but is getting better, according to his successor, Thabo Mbeki.

"I think that we need to understand what has been said publicly by government, which is that Nelson Mandela is in fact improving in terms of his health," Mbeki said on a local radio show Thursday.

The former South African president said he maintains "very close contact with the family and the doctors about Nelson Mandela's condition."

Mbeki added, "I don't think anybody should kind of entertain some wrong notion that Nelson Mandela is about to die tomorrow.  He's not going to."

Mandela, 94, was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on June 8.  The civil rights leader has been susceptible to respiratory problems since he contracted tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment.  He has been hospitalized four times since last December.

Earlier this week, South African President Jacob Zuma said Mandela "continues to engage with family" as doctors report "sustained" improvements in his overall health.

Mandela was last listed in serious condition.

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