Nelson Mandela is "much better" and responding "satisfactorily" to treatment after a week in hospital for pneumonia, the South African presidency said on Wednesday.
The ailing 94-year-old, who served as South Africa's first black president, was making a steady improvement and doctors were happy with his progress, President Jacob Zuma's office said in a statement.
"His doctors say he continues to respond satisfactorily to treatment and is much better now than he was when he was admitted to hospital on the 27th of March 2013," it said.
"He has been visited by family and continues to make steady progress."
No details on a possible date of release were given.
The global peace and anti-apartheid icon was admitted to hospital shortly before midnight a week ago, his third stay since December.
Doctors last week drained excess fluid that had built up on the lining of Mandela's lungs because of a recurring infection.
The procedure helped him breathe without difficulty.
Last month Mandela spent a night in hospital for a scheduled checkup and in December he was admitted for 18 days for a lung infection and gallstones surgery.
It was his longest admission since he walked free from jail in 1990.