Johannesburg — Nelson Mandela's family said the former president was still critically ill, but stable when they visited him on Friday.
This was according to Free State premier and ANC chairman in the province Ace Magashule, who spoke to them at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Friday.
"They said Madiba is better than any other day. He is fine. They saw him this morning," Magashule told people gathered outside the hospital.
"That is the message that is motivating and inspiring them," he said.
He did not go into Mandela's ward, but visited the hospital to be among the South Africans there.
International media started asking him about the survival of the African National Congress, the governing party Mandela once led, should he die.
Magashule rattled off names of previous ANC presidents, such as Albert Luthuli and Oliver Tambo, and said the party was "still standing".
He said there would be prayer meetings throughout the Free State in honour of Mandela, and for Mandela to get well.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said few ANC leaders had been into Mandela's ward to see him.
President Jacob Zuma, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, and the party's treasurer general Zweli Mkhize were the only officials to have visited him.
"All of us [ANC] have decided not to go to his ward for the reason that we want him to get well," said Mthembu.
Earlier, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula arrived, to join family members Makaziwe and Ndileka Mandela.
The last official word from the presidency on Thursday was that Mandela was critical, but stable, and had improved.