South African government denies Mandela is ‘vegetative’


Zaheer Cassim and Catherine Featherston
USA TODAY
July 6, 2013

As former South African president Nelson Mandela remains on life support in a Pretoria hospital, family members continue to fight over burial details.

Mandela, who was hospitalized on June 8, remains in critical but stable condition, according to the office of President Jacob Zuma, who visited the anti-apartheid leader Thursday. The president’s office also said doctors denied reports that Mandela, 94, is in a ”vegetative state.”

A court paper filed June 27 concerning Mandela family graves said affidavits would be provided from his physicians to show that Mandela “is in a permanent vegetative state.” A later filing dropped that phrase. Both court filings, however, said that Mandela’s breathing was machine-assisted.

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