After, unconfirmed reports about Nelson Mandela’s health have ignited on social media, the South African government has now denied former president Nelson Mandela was in a permanent vegetative state, as outlined in court documents filed last month.
The document, published on Thursday, also suggested that 94-year-old Mr
Mandela’s relatives had been advised by doctors to switch off his life-support
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, former wife of Mandela, told CNN in an exclusive interview that it was painful to see him in such critical situation.
But Mandela’s condition seems to have improved, President Jacob Zuma said Thursday.
Before then, however, his health had deteriorated since he was admitted to Mediclinic Heart Hospital with a serious lung infection almost three weeks ago.
Zuma urged people to pray for Mandela, and continue with their work and daily activities even while he is hospitalized.
“I reiterate that Tata is very critical, that anything is imminent,” Makaziwe Mandela told state-run South African Broadcasting Corp. “But I want to emphasize again that it’s only God who knows when the time to go is. And so we will wait.”
When asked if her father was coherent at all, she added,
“He’s … still reactive to touch. We will live with that hope until the final end comes.”
“We don’t mind the interest. But I just think it has gone overboard,” she said when asked about the media’s intrusiveness during her father’s hospitalization.
The president’s office said it was disturbed by what it called rumours about Mr Mandela’s health and appealed for respect for the privacy and dignity of the former leader.
Well-wishers’ messages, bouquets and stuffed animals have piled up outside Mr Mandela’s Johannesburg home and the wall of the hospital compound where he is being treated in the capital.