Family advised to turn off Mandela's life support

2013-07-04 17:56

Johannesburg - Doctors treating Nelson Mandela said he was in a "permanent vegetative state" and advised his family to turn off his life support machine, according to court documents dated 26 June, obtained by AFP Thursday.

"He is in a permanent vegetative state and is assisted in breathing by a life support machine," said a legal filing related to a family dispute over reburying the remains of three of Mandela's children.

"The Mandela family have been advised by the medical practitioners that his life support machine should be switched off.

"Rather than prolonging his suffering, the Mandela family is exploring this option as a very real probability."

The "Certificate of Urgency" document was obtained from a lawyer representing Mandela family members, who had successfully sought a court order to return the disputed children's remains to the Madiba's childhood home, after a grandson had them moved to his own village.

The document was presented to the Eastern Cape High Court as President Jacob Zuma reported that Mandela's health had faltered and cancelled a trip to Mozambique.

The next day Zuma reported that Mandela's condition had "improved during the course of the night".

"He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job," Zuma said in a statement dated 27 June.

Since then the government has said Mandela's condition remains "critical but stable", but has provided few details, citing patient confidentiality.

Lawyers for Mandela's relatives, family members themselves and government officials were not immediately available for comment.

  • Michael Kleber - 2013-07-04 18:01

    The end is near i am afraid to say , so sad .

      Ephraim Le-Nation - 2013-07-04 18:03

      here we go again

      Poloyatonki Kgosi - 2013-07-04 18:40

      Set Madiba free, we south africans are running the country ourselves since we dont have a president.

      Manders - 2013-07-04 21:50

      The only thing that is sad is that he is being kept alive by artificial means , he has had a long life, time to go to the happy hunting grounds.

  • Nyaziwe Mnguni - 2013-07-04 18:03

    Let the old man rest in peace...its sad that we learn this through court litigation

      Hein Huyser - 2013-07-05 00:17

      May God bless South Africa. Peace and prosperity for all in our time.

  • Joe Todani - 2013-07-04 18:04

    It's sad bt I think they must let him go...

      Mellinah Myeni - 2013-07-04 20:04

      Very true joe they must let de old man rest in peace than the pain he is feeling rite now.

      Lizza Lekganyane - 2013-07-05 04:54

      u r ryt, dey mus lt de old man rest in peace dan 2 safa. we ol no hw painfl it is. WE OL LUV MADIBA,bt plz.

  • Ursula More - 2013-07-04 18:05

    If he has been in this state since 26 June (possibly earlier) why has the public not been made aware? It comes out now in a court doc pertaining to the burials??????

      Ian Trenor - 2013-07-04 18:08

      Unfortuneately politics have played a part here. The Obama visit was bad timing so they made a decision to keep him on life support until the US president left. Eish!!!

      Zingisa Makuluma - 2013-07-04 20:16

      Let the old man rest in Peace

  • Grant Neill - 2013-07-04 18:05

    This was inevitable, you can only be on life support for 8-10 days max. But they said he was getting better, which was a lie.

      Terry Hedley - 2013-07-04 18:08

      Alive and kicking.... Just another one of zooooooooomas lies

      Barefoot - 2013-07-04 18:10

      he he he who ever told you that was joking - you can be as long as it takes for you to recover. only switched off once the chance for recovery is deemed to be nil and with family consent.

      Charles A. - 2013-07-04 18:19

      He was responsive to touch so said the daughter on national TV.

      Neil Alan White - 2013-07-04 18:44

      shows how you cant believe anything a politician says (especially an ANC one)

      Louis Claes - 2013-07-04 19:52

      How true Grant,Madiba has died 3 times already but today he is feeling better.Let the old man go,he has done more good in one day than Zuma in a lifetime.

      DumAss Blackie - 2013-07-04 19:58

      Barefoot - I think 'vegetative state' equates to zero chance of recovery - don't you think...??

      Luzuko Tosh Plaatjie - 2013-07-05 08:09

      lie is order of the day in Zuma's office

  • Ongama Ntloko - 2013-07-04 18:07

    Mandela has no equal, but the manner in which his last days were handled, is realy tragic. Not even his children have the intellect nor the humility the man had. Dignity should be this mans last days, not patty fighting.

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 19:08

      I totally agree with you Ongama, though it sounds like he has been in a coma for a long time and is not aware of what is going on (we can only hope so for his sake). It's about two weeks since they said his organs were failing, and if your kidneys fail, you become uremic and go into a coma -- if he wasn't already in one. In the video taken with Zuma in April, he was already staring into space, didn't move, showed no facial expression, and gave no indication that he knew anything that was going on around him, though he wasn't in a coma then. I suspected they might try to keep him "alive" until his birthday, but for his sake, I hope not. You can bypass the kidney problem by putting the person onto a dialysis machine, and if his heart stops, there are other ways of pumping blood through the body, but basically, the only part of the brain which is left functioning properly is the brain stem, which looks after things like breathing, respiration, etc. In the state he is in now, we have no idea if he is still able to feel physical pain, but if he is, like you say Ongama, may they please let him go in peace. RIP Madiba -- we let you go with love and gratitude for what you did.

  • Ongama Ntloko - 2013-07-04 18:07

    Mandela has no equal, but the manner in which his last days were handled, is realy tragic. Not even his children have the intellect nor the humility the man had. Dignity should be this mans last days, not patty fighting.

  • Zoheb Hassan - 2013-07-04 18:08

    South africa's greatest president.. May you rest in peace.. You've lived a long and eventful life but now its time to move on to the next world.. Goodbye

  • Kamo Agnes Molaoa Sennya - 2013-07-04 18:09

    I feel like my heart is sinking deep in my stomach! I don't think I'll ever be ready to hear what will be happening next! Dear Lord...please grant his family the strength and courage to do right by him. He has suffered enough!

      Puleng Mabuya - 2013-07-04 18:18

      i also don't think i'm ready.i love him so much the thought of him being in a vegetable state though..

  • Pman Stanley Raphonde - 2013-07-04 18:11

    Is sad to say it mara let him go,mandela he did it thats enough

  • Richard Scully - 2013-07-04 18:11

    They will be able to charge people to see him

      Tsitsi Mercy Muchato - 2013-07-04 18:51

      So sad u can see the familly was fighting oh God Tata Madiba i cant't even eat my heart is very pain.

  • shavhanieric.netshifhefhe - 2013-07-04 18:11

    better than prayer

  • Richard Scully - 2013-07-04 18:11

    He is already dead,

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 19:19

      He very well could be.

      Wally Modi - 2013-07-04 20:15

      scully ur day is coming. Thats a sign of hatred for someone who is so forgiving .Shame unto you f****l.

      Tina Schilling - 2013-07-04 21:13

      Technically he is dead, the machines are the only thing that is keeping him alive ...a vegative state means there is no brain life

      Manders - 2013-07-04 21:56

      I agree with you if you are brain dead and unable to breathe without artificial means you are dead .

      Bodynaturals Schoonbee - 2013-07-04 22:19

      I truly believe that Madiba already passed away on the 26/6/2013 aged 94...

  • proudlysa - 2013-07-04 18:12

    Mac you see why no one believes you??? (And your buddy Zuma)

  • Khumo Tsineng - 2013-07-04 18:13

    The old man hav done alot and make sacrifices for da country. If is true i think at his age he is also thankful to God to hv given him more years of bonus to live.

  • Sharon Fortuin - 2013-07-04 18:14

    Hi shame,its sad have thine own way Lord!

  • Bongeka - 2013-07-04 18:14

    Are you sure he is still alive? We've been told he is getting better. Obama and his family descended to SA but never visited the old states man in hospital, WHY? And now this. I don't know who to trust and what to believe now. Please wake me up when the storm is over. Tired of officials' lies.

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 19:23

      Hi Bongeka, Most of the people I know didn't believe what we were being told. The people making announcements had to get past Obama's visist, and then the settling of moving the bodies of his children back to Qunu so that he can be buried as he requested, with his three children who died before him. Now that has been sorted, this news report sounds more credible than the previous ones.

      Bongeka - 2013-07-04 19:48

      The only other great guy who died on his birthday was William Shakespear who was born on 13 April and died on 13 April. So maybe they're waiting for his birthday which is just around the corner to break the news or pull the plugs.

  • Moss Kop - 2013-07-04 18:14

    Long walk to freedom... The time has come. I advise the family and all the people in the world to read Ecclesiastes 3 in the bible.

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 19:32

      Very true Moss Kop, Like it says there is a time to be born, and a time to die -- we are blessed indeed that we were allowed to have him for such a long time. It also says there is a time to weep and a time to mourn, and that is what we have to deal with next as a nation -- regardless of our skin colour, or what political party we belong to. Madiba touched us all, and my hope is that South African's will come together in the coming days, as we mourn the loss of one of the greatest sons of Africa. I think that would have made him happier than anything else. After that we have to start redressing some of the wrongs of the past, but that will take a little longer...

  • Karen Mouton - 2013-07-04 18:14

    Please let him go, if he was aware of the situation I'm sure he'd say the same.

  • Siyabulela Patrick - 2013-07-04 18:15

    they were told last month and yet they fight each other,why torture the icon?

  • Sibongile Nhlapo - 2013-07-04 18:16

    so sad not an easy thing for the family

      Charles A. - 2013-07-04 18:23

      Does not appear to be much of a problem for the family. They so busy suing each other that the well being of Madiba must be the last thing on their minds.

      Christopher Collings - 2013-07-04 22:14

      have u not been reading the news? The only thing his family care about is his money! Now lift that rock & try climbing out from under it.

  • Tina Llabres - 2013-07-04 18:16

    how come that Graca in the other article states that "he is fine"??? for every family this is a difficult decision, but when time has come you should allow to let a beloved person go with dignity. to keep him alive for other purposes is a disgrace! We have to face it. Madiba is not longer with us! very, very sad!

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 19:41

      Dying with dignity is so important, like you say, Tina. And in fact Madiba drew up draft legislation on "end-of-life-issues" while he was president. Those would include the right to make a "Living Will" that states you do not want to be kept artificially alive when you are in pain and have no hope of recovery, but be allowed to go home and die in peace if that is your wish. Apparently those papers have been gathering dust on the desk of the Minister of Health ever since. But an organisation called "Dignigy South Africa" has taken them on now and are advising people to make a "Living Will". If anyone would like to know more about making a Living Will, you can Google "Dignity South Africa" for assistance. The papers Madiba drew up form the basis of what Dignity South Africa hope to get through parliament, so supporting them is yet another way we can honour the legacy of Madiba.

  • Tebogo Dipico - 2013-07-04 18:16

    ao zuma ka maaka, bagaetsho

  • Tebogo Dipico - 2013-07-04 18:16

    ao zuma ka maaka, bagaetsho

      Mfanelo Ritilili - 2013-07-04 20:49

      Lo tata is a liar!he lied to the nation,We love Madiba so much-Zuma and Maharaj must now stop lying to us,all what we want now is a plain and clean truth about Madiba...doctors are saying this and you are saying that, you also said to journalsts that you are not a doctor! sikhathele kuqhathwa ngoku!

  • Reza Ryklief - 2013-07-04 18:16

    Letting this become an issue will just be awful. Just let him go. Rest in peace, Madiba.

  • Ester Venter - 2013-07-04 18:18

    What a terribly sad way for his story to end. Goodbye Tata*

  • Golden Lethabo Moloya - 2013-07-04 18:18

    let him go

  • Maxwell Ramonetha - 2013-07-04 18:19

    ya i think is 4 de best, he need 2 rest, we al luv him bt if is tym is tym nd we cnt turn it bck, let him rest

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 19:51

      Requiescat in pace --RIP Madiba -- you will live on in our hearts.

  • Michael Peters - 2013-07-04 18:19

    It is about time. Let him go in peace.

  • Koos Grové - 2013-07-04 18:19

    Are the Mandela's planning for a funeral on 18 July to get more commercial value out of it?

  • HASANIMA - 2013-07-04 18:20


  • Zamani Myende - 2013-07-04 18:20

    Oh, a difficult moment. . .

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 19:52

      Difficult for those who have to do it, relief for the one who is released.

  • Danny Issepypersad - 2013-07-04 18:21

    He's improving...he's critical but stable...he's it seems he's been in a vegetative state since before 26 June. What the hell!!! Tell us the truth.

      Lums Zindela - 2013-07-04 19:24

      Danny, let me warn you never to expect anything nearer to the truth from zuma or mac, don't say i didn't

  • Donald Makhubela - 2013-07-04 18:23

    So sad,but I'm proud of madiba he will die with dignity

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 19:54

      I wish he had been allowed to die with dignity -- but now hopefully he will at least be allowed to die.

  • Bonga Mondile - 2013-07-04 18:24

    Let the old man RIP he has done enough the angels are waiting 4 him on other side

  • Tebogo Dipico - 2013-07-04 18:25

    Hmmm...different headline different content, i dont know anything about journalism anyway

  • Mandy Khave - 2013-07-04 18:26

    No one knows the pain he is going thru enough is enough they should let him go its sad but there is nothing more can be done......

      Manders - 2013-07-04 22:00

      the normal procedure when a patient is on life support it to sedate them heavily, he will not be in pain.

  • Basie Mabasana - 2013-07-04 18:27

    Yet the presidency says he is critical but stable shame on our presidency for feeding us lies.

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 19:59

      It wouldn't be the first time -- the news is so slanted these days (and has been for a long time) you can't even believe the weather report!

  • Muzi Myeni - 2013-07-04 18:27

    Now that the dust has settled in Qunu/Mvezo debacle,let the ol man rest!

      Distance Mathebula - 2013-07-04 21:29

      Nelson Mandela is a Natural Born Fighter. He fought against White Domination. He fought against Black Domination. Today He is fighting for his life, futhi maka thanda anga phinda futhi ahlale 27yrs in hospital niswabe ????

  • Sindile Tayi - 2013-07-04 18:27

    this is very difficult time for the family of the father of nation•

  • Cathi Watson - 2013-07-04 18:27

    So Zuma says last week that Mandela's condition had improved but we now hear he is in a vegetative state. DUH !!!! So can the population of SA not believe what our President says then? Obviously not. And the grand children fighting their own legal battles in court, creating mayhem wherever they go, monopolising the news headlines over buried bodies but yet their grand father lies in hospital being kept alive by machines. Barbarians! Shameful and disgusting.

  • Priscilla Smith - 2013-07-04 18:28

    Did Zuma even visit Madiba? He, Zuma gets sillier and sillier every time he opens his mouth! What a bloody idiot!!!

  • Sbulele Lamfiti-Mfaku Maka-Lina - 2013-07-04 18:28

    Very sad...... God give them strength.

  • Madumetja April - 2013-07-04 18:29

    i feel like crying.....i will always love you madiba and rest in peace.

  • Rodrick Muhali - 2013-07-04 18:29

    I still believe

  • Tlokotsi Joseph Kuali - 2013-07-04 18:29

    This is a frustraiting moment to switch off the breathing machine...... Let us put the life of TATA in the hands of God is up to Him now.

  • Tlokotsi Joseph Kuali - 2013-07-04 18:29

    This is a frustraiting moment to switch off the breathing machine...... Let us put the life of TATA in the hands of God is up to Him now.

      Louis Claes - 2013-07-04 20:09

      Tlokotsi, if it was in Gods hands, the machines would not have been turned on in the first place.He is not even allowed to die in dignity.I suppose there are a few more rands to be squeezed out of him for the selfish family.

  • Pieter Oosthuysen - 2013-07-04 18:30

    And on 28 June Zuma issued a statement that Pres Mandela improved overnight? When will they stop lying? Are they too stupid to realise that the truth always comes out?

      Elsbietta Mansie - 2013-07-04 20:04

      Did you really believe them?

  • Johann Müller - 2013-07-04 18:30

    Poor Madiba. And the lying Zuma...

  • Phae Rayden - 2013-07-04 18:30

    No wonder the application to have his children's remains moved back to Qunu was so urgent. They had to get that drama out the way before they switched off the life support. The rumours were probably true that he was in a vegetative state last Thursday already. What a disgusting and shameful display of manipulation, greed, politicking and grandstanding. Now his heirs get to fight for the right to squander, swagga and bling his heritage away.