A South African official says Nelson Mandela is breathing "without difficulty" after having a procedure to clear fluid in his lung area that was caused by pneumonia.

Nelson Mandela (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

South African presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Saturday that 94-year-old Mandela that the fluid had been "tapped," allowing the former president to breathe more easily.

Maharaj described the fluid problem as a "pleural effusion."

He said Mandela is suffering from pneumonia, using a different term for his ailment. Officials have previously said Mandela, who was taken to a hospital on Wednesday night, has a recurring lung infection.


(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)