Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is in a “stable but critical” condition, South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement on Monday.
“Madiba continues to respond to treatment,” he said, referring to Mandela by his clan name. He added that the health of the former president remained much the same as his last visit in September.
“President Zuma conveyed the well wishes of all South Africans and those of the peoples of the world to the Mandela family and assured them that nations are united in their thoughts and prayers for him,” the statement read.
However, his ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, told South Africa's Sunday Independent newspaper this week, that the 95-year-old remains “quite ill" and unable to because of tubes in his mouth to clear fluid from his lungs.
"The bedroom there is like an ICU ward," the newspaper quoted her as saying, adding that Mandela used facial movements to communicate.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Winnie, a fellow anti-apartheid campaigner, were married throughout his 27 years in prison when tuberculosis weakened his lungs.
Mandela was admitted to hospital in Pretoria on June 8 with a recurring lung infection attributed to the manual labor he was forced to perform during his time behind bars.
He was discharged to his Johannesburg family home in September after it was reconditioned to allow him to receive intensive care from the same team that treated him in hospital.
Zuma will open the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory Public Facility and the Permanent Exhibition on the Life and Times of Nelson Mandela near his home, later tonight.
NBC News Rohit Kachroo contributed to this report.
First published November 18 2013, 7:19 AM