, JOHANNESBURG, Jul 7 – Nelson Mandela remained hospitalised in a critical state on Sunday after doctors ruled out turning off his life support unless he suffers massive organ failure.
Meanwhile his grandson’s lawyers were planning to lodge an official complaint over a court document which they say falsely claimed he was “in a permanent vegetative state”.
The anti-apartheid hero’s health condition was unchanged over the weekend, South Africa’s presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told AFP on Saturday.
He is in a critical but stable condition after his June 8 admittance for an obstinate pulmonary infection and relies on machines to help him breathe.
A close friend of the former statesman had said turning off life support was discussed and ultimately dismissed.
“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,” Denis Goldberg, who has known Mandela for more than 50 years, told AFP on Friday.
“Since that hasn’t occurred they were quite prepared to go on stabilising him until he recovers.”
The 80-year-old Goldberg was convicted along with Mandela in 1964 for their fight against white-minority rule.
He visited the former president in hospital on Monday.
A court document filed by a lawyer for Mandela’s feuding family 10 days ago stated the 94-year-old was “assisted in breathing by a life support machine”.
“The Mandela family have been advised by the medical practitioners that his life support machine should be switched off,” the court filing read.
“Rather than prolonging his suffering, the Mandela family is exploring this option as a very real probability.”
The document – which was designed to press a court to urgently settle a family row over the remains of Mandela’s children – also stated that Mandela was “in a permanent vegetative state”.
South Africa’s presidency has said that is not the case, but refused to give further details of his condition, citing the need to respect Mandela’s privacy.