BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa - South African President Jacob Zuma says anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is "recuperating" after falling ill from a recurring lung infection.

Zuma made the comments Thursday while renaming an airport in Bloemfontein.

Zuma said Mandela "is recuperating from a lung infection at a Pretoria hospital. We wish him a speedy recovery and assure him yet again, of the love and support of many in the country and abroad."

Mandela is 94 years old and was admitted Saturday to 1 Military Hospital near South Africa's capital, Pretoria.

Mandela is revered for being a leader of the struggle against racist white rule in South Africa and for preaching reconciliation once he emerged from prison in 1990 after 27 years. He served one five-year term as president before retiring from public life.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • A poster showing safety features of a bank note bearing the image of former president Nelson Mandela, at a press launch, in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • Reserve bank governor Gill Marcus put bank notes bearing the image of former president Nelson Mandela into a till, at a press launch, in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.(AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • Reserve bank governor Gill Marcus displays bank notes bearing the image of former president Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • Reserve bank governor Gill Marcus displays bank notes bearing the image of former president Nelson Mandela at a press launch, in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. New South African banknotes featuring the image of former president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela are going into circulation. Reserve bank governor Gill Marcus made the first purchase using the new rand notes at a small shop in Pretoria Tuesday. She says the country tries to upgrade its notes every seven years for security reasons as technologies change. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • Reserve bank governor Gill Marcus displays bank notes bearing the image of former president Nelson Mandela, in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

  • Reserve bank governor Gill Marcus displays bank notes bearing the image of former president Nelson Mandela at a press launch, in Pretoria, South Africa, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)