Handout picture of former South African President Nelson Mandela hugging his great granddaughter Zenani Mandela in Diepkloof, Soweto
Former South African President Nelson Mandela hugs his great granddaughter Zenani Mandela in Diepkloof, Soweto in this December 7, 2008 handout picture. Zenani Mandela, 13, was killed in a car crash on June 11, 2010 after leaving a concert ahead of the World Cup kick off, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said. Picture taken December 7, 2008.Reuters

Nelson Mandela was rushed to hospital following a renewed lung infection on Saturday.

The former South African President's condition has been reported as 'serious but stable'. 

"This morning at about 1.30am (local time) his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to a Pretoria hospital. He remains in a serious but stable condition", President Jacob Zuma said in a statement updating the health condition of the first black president of the country.

According to the statement from President Zuma's office, Mandela is receiving excellent medical care and the "doctors are doing everything possible to make him better and comfortable". The presidency wished Mandela a speedy recovery on behalf of the government and the nation, and asked media to respect Mandela's and his family's privacy.

This is the third instance of hospitalization of the 94-year old since December and the second hospitalization in two months due to recurring lung infection. The anti-apartheid icon was admitted to hospital on 27 March and was under treatment for pneumonia. During the period, the doctors had drained pleural effusion or collection of water near the lungs, as excessive amount of water collection causes breathing difficulties.

Government spokesman, Mac Maharaj told South African television on Saturday that Mandela's  condition is serious. "The situation is serious this time but the doctors have assured us he is comfortable," according to the Dailymail.

Mandela spent nearly 27 years in prison during the apartheid in South Africa before he was elected as the first black president of the country. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1988, during the apartheid period and is said to have had problem with his lungs ever since.