Book about Mandela's 'last days' withdrawn from circulation

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Vejay Ramlakan. (Deaan Vivier, City Press, Foto24)
Vejay Ramlakan. (Deaan Vivier, City Press, Foto24)

Cape Town - A new book describing former president Nelson Mandela's last moments has been withdrawn from circulation, Penguin Random House South Africa (PRHSA) said in a statement on Monday.

The book, Mandela's Last Years, was written by his doctor, Lieutenant-General Vejay Ramlakan.

No further copies of the book would be issued out of "respect for the late Mr Mandela's family", PRHSA said.

"The book was meant to portray Nelson Mandela's courage and strength until the very end of his life, and was in no way intended to be disrespectful," the statement reads.

"However, given the statements from family members, we have decided to withdraw the book."

Ramlakan headed Mandela's medical team until his death in December 2013. He retired from the SANDF in 2015.

Ramlakan wrote about Mandela's admission to Mediclinic Heart Hospital on June 8, in a "serious condition", according to extracts released to News24 this week.

"On the previous night, we surmised, a sudden ulcer bleed and concomitant lung infection had probably caused an aspiration from blood that was being regurgitated," he wrote.

READ: Graca Machel threatens to sue Mandela's doctor over book on his 'last years'

On Friday, July 21, Mandela's widow Graça Machel condemned the book "in the strongest terms".

She said its publication was a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality.

"I am taking legal advice on whether to institute legal proceedings against the author and its publisher," Machel said.

The defence department on Saturday said the book did not represent the views of the department or the SA Military Health Service.

"The views and patient doctor engagements expressed in the book have not been sanctioned by the senior cadre of the department and the SANDF respectively," spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini told News24.

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