Mbeki: Nelson Mandela may leave hospital, recuperate at home

Former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2008.</p>

Former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2008.

Nelson Mandela may soon be leaving the hospital to recuperate at home, former South African president Thabo Mbeki said.

Mbeki made the prediction that Mandela will soon be going home at a memorial service on Saturday.

"I know the doctors who are working with him are very good people, very good doctors and they are doing a very excellent job. I am quite certain that Madiba will be discharged," Mbeki said, using Mandela's clan name.

The most recent official update on Mandela's condition is that the former leader is still in critical but stable condition.

Friends who have visited the ailing Mandela told the Associated Press that he is on a form of mechanical ventilation.

Mandela has been hospitalized for more than five weeks at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa where he is being treated for a reoccurring lung infection.

His wife, Graca Machel, said on Friday that she is "less anxious" about her husband's ailing health now that he is responding to treatment.

"I would say that today I'm less anxious than I was a week ago," Machel told the country's state-backed broadcaster SABC.

Mandela will turn 95 on Thursday.