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An unidentified girl with her face painted with the word 'Madiba' in reference to Nelson Mandela, stands outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is being treated. Themba Hadebe/AP/Press Association Images

President Zuma: 'Doctors deny Mandela is in a vegetative state'

Earlier, media reports suggested that doctors had suggested turning off the former leader’s life support.

THE PRESIDENT OF South Africa has denied today’s reports that anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is in a vegetative state at a Pretoria hospital.

In a statement this evening – the second of the day – Jacob Zuma said he wanted to offer a clarification after noting media reports about the deteoriating health of the 94-year-old former leaders.

“We confirm our earlier statement released this afternoon after President Jacob Zuma visited Madiba in hospital that Madiba remains in a critical, but stable condition. The doctors deny that the former President is in a vegetative state,” the office of the presidency said.

“Former President Mandela has been and remains under the care of a multi-disciplinary panel of South African medical experts drawn from the South Africa Military Health Services, the public sector, the universities and the private sector. Under this panel a team of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health professionals attend to Madiba on a 24 hour basis.”

This afternoon, AFP said it had seen legal documents outlining claims that the family had been advised by doctors to turn off Mandela’s life support. The papers were dated 26 June, according to the French agency.

Earlier: Doctors advised family to turn off Nelson Mandela’s life support

Nelson Mandela still ‘critical but stable’ in hospital

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