JOHANNESBURG — The South African government has denied a report that former president Nelson Mandela was in a “permanent vegetative state” in a Pretoria hospital, saying Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader, remains in “critical but stable” condition.
The Thursday report by the Agence France-Presse pointed to court papers filed June 26 in a dispute among Mandela family members over the burial location of three of Mandela’s children.
In the document, a lawyer for members of the Mandela family explained why they believed the court should act urgently on the matter, pointing to Mandela’s life-threatening condition. Also on Thursday, Mandela’s wife, Graça Machel, described him as sometimes uncomfortable and in pain, but otherwise “fine.”
Denis Goldberg, a former fellow anti-apartheid activist who visited Mandela in the hospital Monday, said that he had found the ailing former president “totally conscious” and in much better shape than he had expected.