Graca Machel to sue over Mandela doctor's book

21 July 2017 - 14:25 By Matthew Savides And Suthentira Govender
Nelson Mandela, helped by his wife Graca Machel, is pictured 18 July 2007 during the launching ceremony of the group known as The Elders, in Johannesburg.
Nelson Mandela, helped by his wife Graca Machel, is pictured 18 July 2007 during the launching ceremony of the group known as The Elders, in Johannesburg.
Image: ALEXANDER JOE

Former First Lady‚ Graca Machel‚ wants to sue a doctor who treated her late husband‚ former South African president Nelson Mandela‚ over explosive claims in a book published this week.

Lieutenant-General Vejay Ramlakan‚ who was Madiba's doctor for nearly a decade‚ published the book "Mandela's Last Years" on Monday.

Among the claims Ramlakan makes are that it was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela‚ and not Machel‚ who was at Mandela's bedside when he died.

It also details never-before-published information on Madiba's various health conditions‚ including that doctors were worried the former statesman "might have died" when he stopped breathing on a chilly night in June‚ seven months before his December 2013 death.

Internal family politics also negatively affected Mandela's heath in his final few months‚ Ramlakan claimed.

"Mandela’s Last Years" was written by the former surgeon general of the South African National Defence Force‚ and published by Penguin Random House.

He said that he was privileged that the family gave him their blessing in publishing the book.

But Machel‚ in a statement issued on Friday‚ said she took issue with how the book breached patient-doctor confidentiality.

"I condemn Vejay Ramlakan's book 'Mandela’s Last Years' in the strongest terms. It is an affront to and an assault on the trust and dignity of my late husband‚ President Nelson Mandela. It breaches the doctor–patient relationship of confidentiality and I am taking legal advice on whether to institute legal proceedings against the author and its publisher‚" she wrote.

Machel also said she would be consulting the executors of Mandela's will "on how best to protect Madiba’s good name and reputation".

Ramlakan referred TimesLIVE to Penguin Random House‚ who in turn said that a statement was being prepared in response to Machel.

- TimesLIVE

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