/ 3 July 2013

Mandela on life support, Makaziwe confirms

Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela. (Reuters)

"Nelson Mandela's health is perilous. [An] affidavit will be provided from physicians that he is assisted in breathing by a life support machine," according to an affidavit filed on June 28 by Makaziwe Mandela and 15 others, including Graça Machel.

"The anticipation of his impending death is based on real and substantial grounds. The applicants are desirous of burying their father and committing him to the earth in which his descendant's remains lie," it said.

This affidavit forms the core of the Mandela versus Mandela battle – over Nelson Mandela's burial site – which is currently playing out in the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha.

The contents of the affidavit filed by Makaziwe Mandela reveal that this faction of the family believes Mandla Mandela wants to "force" Nelson Mandela's place of burial away from Qunu, to Mvezo, for financial gain.

The graves are those of Nelson Mandela's eldest son Makgato Mandela, who died in 2005; Mandela's first daughter Makaziwe, who died as an infant in 1948; and Mandela's second son Madiba Thembekile, who died in a car accident in 1969.

Mandla Mandela allegedly moved the graves from Qunu to his home in Mvezo in 2011. On Friday, Makaziwe Mandela and the 15 others brought an urgent application asking the court to force Mandla Mandela to move the remains back. Members of the Mandela family also laid criminal charges of grave tampering against him.

'Madiba's birthday on 18 July'
The last update from the presidency came on Monday when President Jacob Zuma said Mandela is still in a critical but stable condition, while reminding South Africans of Madiba's upcoming birthday.

"We remind all South Africans to begin planning for Madiba's birthday on July 18," the presidency said at the start of the week.

"We must all be able to do something good for humanity on this day, in tribute to our former president."

Zuma at the time thanked everyone who had kept Mandela and his family in their thoughts and prayers.

The anti-apartheid icon was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on June 8 with a recurring lung infection. When he was admitted to hospital, the presidency described his condition as serious but stable.

However, on June 23, after Zuma and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa visited Mandela, the presidency announced that his condition had deteriorated.

"The condition of former president Nelson Mandela, who is still in hospital in Pretoria, has become critical," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement at the time.  – Additional reporting by Sapa