CAPE PROPERTY GUIDE INSIDE TODAY MANDELA DOCS ‘WON’T TURN OFF LIFE SUPPORT’
Feuding family ‘exaggerated’ state of Madiba’s health
NELSON Mandela’s doctors have rejected the idea of turning off his life support, unless he suffers massive organ failure, a close family friend has said.
“I was told the matter had been raised and the doctors said they would only consider such a situation if there was a genuine state of organ failure,” said Denis Goldberg, 80, a long-time friend of Mandela and a fellow Rivonia trialist.
And it has emerged that members of the Mandela family who went to court to secure the exhumation and reburial of the remains of three of Nelson Mandela’s children had exaggerated the severity of his health in court papers, alleging he was in a “permanent vegetative state”.
“Obviously Mandela is in a critical state, but his condition was definitely exaggerated,” a highly-placed source revealed last night.
The latest shock revelation, apparently seen as a way to speed up court proceedings against embattled Mandela grandson Mandla, who is said to have moved the bodies in question in the middle of the night in 2011, comes amid rising anger and concern over the schism in the Mandela family.
The admission that Mandela’s precarious health was exaggerated for purposes of the court action comes as the Presidency urged the Mandela family to resolve their increasingly bitter dispute “amicably”.
“It is regrettable that there is a dispute going on among family members and we’d like that dispute to be resolved as amicably and as soon as possible,” said President Jacob Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj.
Maharaj refused to comment on the court document which said Mandela was judged to be in a “permanent vegetative state”, and that his doctors had recommended switching off his life-support machines.
“We did not file any document and we are not saying that it’s true or not true,” he said. Maharaj would say only that Madiba remained in a “critical but stable” condition.
Further information in the court papers was that doctors had advised the family to turn off Mandela’s life support, but Goldberg said the former statesman was still “attentive” and had tried to speak to him when he visited Madiba in hospital earlier this week.
Goldberg said yesterday Mandela was “totally conscious” when he saw him on Monday.
“I was invited by... (Mandela’s wife) Graça Machel to visit him in hospital in order to provide the stimulation of hearing the voice of a person he knows. He was incapacitated but was totally conscious.”
Goldberg confirmed that Mandela was receiving help to breathe.
“But he responds to voices and tries to talk, yet mumbles. He was dozing when I got there. I spoke and told him who I was and he opened his eyes and looked at me. I spoke to him for about 10 minutes and he responded positively to what I was saying,” said Goldberg.
“He did not answer because he can’t talk, with the pipe in his throat, but he was moving his jaw as if he wanted to talk. I was absolutely amazed – after the stories I had heard.”