‘I am quite certain that one of these days Madiba (Mandela) will go back home,’ he said at the weekend.
Official statements that South Africa’s first black president was critical but stable were correct, he said, at a memorial service in Pretoria on Saturday.
He added: ‘One of these days the doctors will agree that he can go and stay at home rather than in hospital.’
Mandela’s wife Graça Machel also said she was ‘less anxious’ about his condition.
‘He continues to respond positively to treatment. I would say that today I am less anxious than I was a week ago,’ she said.
The former apartheid campaigner has been hospitalised for more than five weeks for a recurring lung infection, which has led to four hospital stays in the last six months.
Friends who have visited him say he is on a life support machine – and court papers alleged he was in a persistent vegetative state – but recent official updates have said Mandela was in a critical but stable condition.
Mandela, who was hospitalized on June 8, turns 95 on Thursday.
He spent 27 years in prison before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.