The office of South Africa's presidency denied Saturday that former head of state Nelson Mandela had left hospital in Pretoria where he was admitted in June for the recurrence of a pulmonary infection.

"The presidency has noted incorrect media reports that former president Nelson Mandela has been discharged from hospital," Jacob Zuma's office said in a brief communique.

"Madiba (the name of Mandela's clan in the Xhosa language by which he is affectionately known in South Africa) is still in hospital in Pretoria, and remains in a critical but stable condition," the note said.

"At times" said the message signed by presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, "his condition becomes unstable, but he responds to medical interventions."

Mandela, 95, was hospitalized on June 8, and his health had significantly declined by June 23.

This is the fourth time since last December that the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner and icon of the fight against the racist "apartheid" regime has been admitted to hospital.

Mandela became the first black president of South Africa after winning his country's first democratic elections in April 1994. EFE