Johannesburg: Nelson Mandela was responding better to treatment on his fifth day in hospital on Wednesday, South African President Jacob Zuma told Parliament.
"I am happy to report that Madiba is responding better to treatment from this morning," Zuma told a scheduled budget hearing, using the anti-apartheid icon`s clan name.
"We are very happy with the progress that he is now making, following a difficult last few days."
Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital in the early hours of Saturday and has since been described only as being in a "serious but stable" condition.
His apparent failure to respond to days of intensive treatment had prompted widespread concerns about his condition.
Zuma, speaking 49 years after Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, paid tribute to his predecessor and the others who were imprisoned that day as heroes of South African democracy.
"Because of their sacrifices and the foundation that was laid for a free and democratic South Africa, our country is a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994, even though we still have so much work to do."
Zuma also thanked people around the world for their prayers.
"We appreciate the messages of support from all over the world. It is an honour for us as South Africans to share Madiba with the international community."
"We are so proud to call him our own."
"We urge South Africans and the international community to continue to keep president Mandela and the medical team in their thoughts and prayers."