Johannesburg, June 23: Former South African president Nelson Mandela spent his 16th day in hospital on Sunday amid growing concern over his health.
The South African Presidency issued an update saying Mandela "remains in a serious but stable condition", reports Xinhua.
The latest update came after Mandela's grandson Ndaba Mandela was quoted by The Star newspaper as saying that the ailing former statesman was expected to be discharged soon.
"We appeal again that his privacy be respected and that he be accorded the doctor-patient confidentiality that all patients are entitled to in terms of medical ethics," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said.
He confirmed that the military ambulance that transported Mandela to hospital two weeks ago broke down due to "engine problems".
"All care was taken to ensure that Madiba's medical condition was not compromised by the unforeseen incident," said Maharaj.
"Doctors attending to Madiba are satisfied that the former president suffered no harm during this period," he said.
Due to a possible deterioration in Mandela's condition, Mandela's wife Graca Machel has been sleeping in a room next to Mandela's at the hospital every night, according to the Sunday Times.
Numerous relatives of Mandela have been seen visiting the hospital. These included Mandela's ex-wife, ANC MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and his two daughters Zindzi Mandela-Motlhajwa and Mandela Makaziwe.
The government has given sketchy but positive news about Mandela's condition. On June 16, Presdient Jacob Zuma said Mandela "continues to get better".
"Over the last two days, although he remains serious, his doctors have stated that his improvement has been sustained," Zuma said.
Yet the lack of official information gave way to speculations and raised concern about Mandela's health.
Nelson Mandela has not given response for days, local TV channel ENCA reported on Sunday.
According to the report of News24 Sunday, citing an unknown source, the former president has not "opened his eyes in days" and that "his liver and kidneys were only functioning at 50 percent".
In response to the speculations, Maharaj said the presidency has been the "source for authoritative reporting on Mandela's health".