South Africa denies Mandela in ‘vegetative state’
Denial follows claim that the former president was on a life-support machine
Wellwishers release balloons outside the hospital where ailing former South African president Nelson Mandela is being treated in Pretoria. Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters
Wellwishers hold balloons outside the hospital today. Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters
A woman and child launch a sky lantern outside the Mandela home in Johannesburg, South Africa, last night. Photograph: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
The South African government has denied reports that former president Nelson Mandela is in a permanent vegetative state on a life-support machine.
Spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Mandela remained in a critical but stable condition and that doctors had confirmed the media reports stemming from court document filed in a Mandela family dispute were inaccurate.
“The former president is being treated by a panel of medical experts,” said Mr Maharaj, “and under that panel the team of doctors is treating him on a 24 hour basis. Our reports are based on the reports from the doctors treating him.”
He added the government was committed to giving “reliable information” to the public.
The claim surrounding Mandela’s declining health condition was made in documents obtained by news agency AFP in the Eastern Cape High Court.
This week it ordered Mandla Mandela to return the remains of his grandfather’s three children to Qunu from Mvezo, where he moved them two years ago.